The Enlightenment The Enlightenment The Enlightenment was a movement of thinkers who believed that science could explain everything in nature. Until then, most peoplebelieved that god controlled the universe in a metaphysical manner. Metaphysical means beyond physical, and suggests that it is impossible for humans to comprehend things that happen in our environment. Galileo was one of the first thinkers of the Enlightenment. Galileo used a powerful telescope to discover that many moons surrounded Jupiter. He used his discoveries to prove the Copernicus’ theory that the earth traveled around the sun. The church was opposed to Galileo’s discovery.
Galileo was imprisoned for heresy and printers were forbidden to print and of Galileo’s writings. His students continued to discuss his teachings and in time, the ideas of using observations and measurement were to become the root of modern science. The thinkers of the Enlightenment encouraged people to use science to explore nature and to question what they had always accepted without questioning. The Enlightenment encouraged people to participate in government and to rethink old ideas like feudalism and primogeniture. The American Revolution was seen by many as a huge achievement for the Enlightenment.
Two hundred years ago, our Constitution provided for a government where nobody was above the law. People had freedoms of speech and religion, and the press would be allowed to print any true statement. The Enlightenment also had a negative aspect. Many of the thinkers were atheists, who did not believe in god. They often attacked religion and the faithful.
Many were also bloodthirsty in attempting to reach their goals. The French Revolution and the Reign of Terror were two episodes of history that ended the period known as the Enlightenment. History.