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Enlightenment

European philosophical movement of the late 17th and the 18th centuries. Based on science and reason, and stressing the rationality of humankind, it challenged religious, political and social... read more

Avi Lifschitz considers the changing meanings of the Enlightenment, both to those who created it and those historians who have since attempted to define it.

Volume: 63 Issue: 9 2013

David Torrance examines a pioneering article, first published in History Today in 1990, which argued that the Scottish Enlightenment was not restricted to Edinburgh but was a genuinely national phenomenon.

Volume: 62 Issue: 1 2012

In 1729 a young entrepreneur, Jonathan Tyers, took over the failing management of the pleasure gardens at Vauxhall. During his long tenure he was able to make it a resounding success, as David Coke  explains.

Volume: 62 Issue: 5 2012

The Royal Society was founded in 1660 to promote scientific research. Through a process of trial and error, this completely new kind of institution slowly discovered how its ambitions might be achieved – often in ways unforeseen by its founders, writes Michael Hunter.

Volume: 60 Issue: 11 2010
Volume: 60 Issue: 1 2009

Simon Henderson places a key figure into the context of modern Russian history.

Issue: 51 2005

A.D. Harvey recalls the career of the Swedish king whose assassination inspired a famous opera.

Volume: 53 Issue: 12 2003

Owen Davies argues that a widespread belief in witchcraft persisted through 19th-century Britain, despite the scepticism engendered by the Enlightenment.

Volume: 49 Issue: 8 1999

Walter Makin gives two cheers for a sample of the popular Access to History series. 

Issue: 22 1995

Charles C. Noel illustrates how the remodelling of the Spanish capital reflected the new philosophical and cultural concerns of her rulers in the 'Age of Reason'. 

Volume: 45 Issue: 10 1995

Joseph Wright of Derby and the exhibition at the Tate.

Volume: 40 Issue: 2 1990

Glasgow's role in the Enlightenment is often overshadowed by Edinburgh, but Roy Campbell shows that the impetus came from the West with the pioneering work done in the city from the early years of the eighteenth century. 

Volume: 40 Issue: 5 1990

Roy Porter on the European concept of Enlightenment.

Volume: 32 Issue: 2 1982

Stuart Andrews profiles a scientist, controversialist, and pillar of the British enlightenment; Joseph Priestley found his spiritual home in the United States.

Volume: 29 Issue: 4 1979

When the founders of the American Historical Society discussed their plans in 1791, writes Elisabeth Linscott, they determined ‘to seek and find, to preserve and communicate’, the precious records of their country’s past.

Volume: 29 Issue: 10 1979

In 1764, writes Stuart Andrews, during his successful Grand Tour, James Boswell, then aged twenty-four, visited two great European thinkers, who were, he wrote, far more interesting to him ‘than most statues or pictures’.

Volume: 28 Issue: 8 1978

Douglas Hilt introduces the scholar, innovator and agricultural reformer, Pablo de Olavide, who brought to Spain the ideas of the French Enlightenment.

Volume: 28 Issue: 12 1978

Before the Act of Union in 1800, writes John Stocks Powell, Grattan dominated Irish politics over twenty years in an age of enlightenment that failed.

Volume: 27 Issue: 3 1977

J.H.M. Salmon describes how the Philosophes of the French eighteenth century had an unshakeable belief in their own achievement and the progress of mankind.

Volume: 27 Issue: 5 1977

J.H.M. Salmon profiles an important - but largely forgotten - historian of the ancien régime, whose main theme was expansion in Asia and in the New World.

Volume: 26 Issue: 2 1976

Allen Cabaniss revisists a war between the French and American Indians.

Volume: 25 Issue: 12 1975

Douglas Hilt profiles a statesman, jurist and man of letters who devoted his generous gifts to the service of Bourbon Spain.

Volume: 25 Issue: 6 1975

Trevor Fawcett describes how courses of public lectures provided some of the knowledge of science omitted from a gentleman’s education.

Volume: 22 Issue: 8 1972

J.H.M. Salmon asserts that René Descartes and Blaise Pascal stand out from other men of letters of their era due to the enduring relevance of their lives and works.

Volume: 21 Issue: 7 1971

Throughout his long life, including his years in Russia, Ribeiro Sanches kept in touch with ‘Men of Reason’ in many European countries.

Volume: 20 Issue: 4 1970

W. Bruce Lincoln describes how Enlightenment figures and themes drifted gradually westward, to the Russia of Peter the Great.

Volume: 20 Issue: 10 1970

Stuart Andrews describes how the founder of Methodism shared the encyclopaedic concern with science that characterizes the eighteenth century.

Volume: 19 Issue: 1 1969

George A. Rothrock describes how the age of Enlightenment was eager for secular, rational explanations of the world, and welcomed the scepticism of Diderot’s contributors.

Volume: 18 Issue: 4 1968

William Seymour introduces the scientist, architect, gardener, forester and book-collector, John Evelyn; one of the most distinguished polymaths of the English seventeenth century.

Volume: 17 Issue: 9 1967

W. Brownlie Hendry describes how a sixteenth-century Scottish laird, with, in Gibbon's words, ‘a head to contrive and a hand to execute,’ worked out the powerful aid to mathematical calculation known as logarithms.

Volume: 17 Issue: 4 1967

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