Enlightenment ideas have always faced resistance, but they continue to be relevant and are vital to our understanding of the modern world.
“What is the American, this new man?,” Franklin seemed to provide the answer to this question first asked in 1784.
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.
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.
Douglas Hilt introduces the scholar, innovator and agricultural reformer, Pablo de Olavide, who brought to Spain the ideas of the French Enlightenment.
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.
Stuart Andrews profiles a scientist, controversialist, and pillar of the British enlightenment; Joseph Priestley found his spiritual home in the United States.
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.
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’.