18th Century Podcast: Episode 22 A Letter to a Royal Academy About Farting

Benjamin Franklin at a desk

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/cj123/episodes/18th-Century-Podcast-Episode-22-A-Letter-to-a-Royal-Academy-About-Farting-e90h6u/a-a11j5ob

Summary

In this episode of the 18th Century Podcast, I read an essay Benjamin Franklin wrote about farting in 1781. I think most people forget that people back in the 18th Century were human too, and did have a sense of humor. Benjamin Franklin was known for his humor and I think this lighthearted episode is well needed and deserved. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the soothing sounds of the words of Ben Franklin as he gives his elegant thoughts on farting.

Essay

GENTLEMEN,

I have perused your late mathematical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy, for the ensuing year, viz. “Une figure quelconque donnee, on demande d’y inscrire le plus grand nombre de fois possible une autre figure plus-petite quelconque, qui est aussi donnee”. I was glad to find by these following Words, “l’Acadeemie a jugee que cette deecouverte, en eetendant les bornes de nos connoissances, ne seroit pas sans UTILITE”, that you esteem Utility an essential Point in your Enquiries, which has not always been the case with all Academies; and I conclude therefore that you have given this Question instead of a philosophical, or as the Learned express it, a physical one, because you could not at the time think of a physical one that promis’d greater Utility.

Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, &c. of this enlightened Age.

It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.

That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.

That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.

That so retain’d contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Diseases, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c. often destructive of  the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.

Were it not for the odiously offensive Smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are in spitting, or in blowing their Noses.

My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreable, to be mix’d with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreable as Perfumes.

That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much Addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick-Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid Air arising from the vast Mass of putrid Matter contain’d in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some other thing equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produc’d in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment. Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind than of our Water?

For the Encouragement of this Enquiry, (from the immortal Honour to be reasonably expected by the Inventor) let it be considered of how small Importance to Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier, for any Knowledge they have pick’d out of Aristotle? What Comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels! The Knowledge of Newton’s mutual Attraction of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is rack’d by their mutual Repulsion, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Life, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one Sense being little inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight he might delight the Smell of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who now endeavours to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments, and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more Importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for. — In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Mens Business and Bosoms. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual UTILITY, the Science of the Philosophers above-mentioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your “Figure quelconque” and the Figures inscrib’d in it, are, all together, scarcely worth a

FART-HING.

Citations

Franklin, Benjamin. “A Letter to a Royal Academy About Farting.” Teaching American History, https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/to-the-royal-academy-of-farting/.

18th Century Podcast Episode 15 Secret Societies

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/cj123/episodes/18th-Century-Podcast-Episode-15-Secret-Societies-e5c7p4/a-anf5ha

Summary

In today’s episode, we will be taking a look at secret societies.We’re going to start the episode discussing a brief overview of the topic, then a few societies in particular. Among those discussed will be The Freemasons, The Hell Fire Club, and The Illuminati.

Script

INTRO

Welcome back to the 18th Century Podcast. I am your host, Cj. In today’s episode, we will be taking a look at secret societies. Secret Societies are a fascinating topic, and they were somewhat prevalent during the 18th Century. We’re going to start the episode discussing a brief overview of the topic, then a few societies in particular. Among those discussed will be The Freemasons, The Hell Fire Club, and The Illuminati. f you’d like to read the script for this episode and its citations, go to 18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. Let’s get into it with, a brief overview of secret societies in the 18th Century.

OVERVIEW OF SECRET SOCIETIES

Perhaps the best way to describe a secret society is to speak of it’s most basic elements. A secret society is a group of people centered around a goal or a group of goals or ideas and espousing them in secrecy. Secret societies could be religious or secular. Ceremony and rituals are often involved, as passed down traditions. A secret society could have certain qualifications for membership, such as being of a particular sex, specific age, social class, your even your job. Traditionally, most secret societies tended to be for adult males. Now let’s look at some examples of secret societies in the 18th Century, beginning with the Freemasons.

PART 1 FREEMASONS

Freemasonry is perhaps one of the most popular secret societies in the world. The roots of Freemasonry go back further than that of the 18th Century. Most likely, Freemasonry started as a guild or guilds in the Middle Ages. Yet as time went on, the formed into the group known as the Freemasons. One no longer had to be an actual mason to join. Semblance of Freemasonry slowly came into being during the 17th Century. There were signs of Lodges in the 17th Century as well. I would like to note, that at this point, it was more focused in England. Jumping into the 18th Century, the more modern structure began to take shape. On June 24th, 1717, the first Grand Lodge was established. This Grand Lodge was comprised of four separate Lodges in London coming together. This would be the first Grand Lodge in the entire world. In 1723 the new Grand Lodge published their first rule book. Then in 1725, the Grand Lodge of Ireland was established. The French Grand Lodge opened its doors in 1728. On July 30th, 1733 the first Grand Lodge in America was established. 18 men gathered together in a Tavern in Boston to establish the new Grand Lodge. Which, was also the first Lodge in America. In 1736 the Scottish Grand Lodge was established. Around the 1730s through the 1740s in France, there was an idea of having a mixed-sex form of Freemasonry. This could be referred to as, Rite of Adoption. It wasn’t popular with everyone, but rules for it were eventually adopted in France. One of the key points of Freemasonry is Brotherhood. Some general requirements for joining were being a freeborn Male who believes in some sort of Supreme Being, of good character, and particular minimum age. The term, “Lodge” refers to the meeting of Masons. However, the word “Lodge” can be interpreted as where they meet as well. Grand Lodges issues charters or warrants for the formation of new Lodges. If they do not obtain a charter or warrant they are viewed as irregular and not officially recognized. If they are recognized, they are viewed as regular. This practice of viewing a lodge as regular or irregular is also at the Grand Lodge level as well for the simple fact of mutual recognition. The acts conducted within Freemasonry during the 18th Century were secretive, so I can’t discuss much what they did. I think this is a good spot to move on to the Hellfire Club.

PART 2 HELLFIRE CLUB

You may have heard of the Hellfire Club, if only for the simple fact of Ben Franklin possibly may have attended. There were a few Hellfire Clubs sprinkled throughout Ireland and England. However, the first Hellfire Club was started in England in 1719 by the First Duke of Wharton. There wasn’t a ton of organizational structure in Hellfire Clubs. The main point of these clubs was in fact, Hedonism. Drunkenness and other debaucherous activities were prevalent. The most famous Hellfire Club was started by Sir Francis Dashwood. However, he would add his branding to the Club dubbing it, the Order of the Knights of St Francis. His Club was founded sometime in the 1730s. About six miles from his home in, West Wycombe, Sir Dashwood would set up shop in an old abandoned Abbey. They would meet usually twice a year. Members could expect good food, much drinking, and to quote from a book from 1779 called, Nocturnal Revels, which was a record of the meetings, quote “cheerful ladies of lively dispositions.” Unquote. In the mid-1760s, Sir Dashwood would change the venue. Eventually, the Club would come to a close. Now, were going to take a short break, and when we come back we’ll finish the episode off by talking about, the Illuminati.

PART 3 THE ILLUMINATI

Welcome back. We’ll finish off this week’s episode by discussing one of the most famous secret societies in history, The Illuminati. The real Illuminati was started by a Bavarian man named, Adam Weishaupt. Adam was born in 1748 and attended a Jesuit School in his youth. Adam would go on to become a professor of Natural and Canon Law. He would get married and start a family. He grew up in a Catholic society but read his uncles French Enlightenment books during his youth. His political views tended towards the idea that Monarchy and the Church were repressive organizations. For a time he considered joining the Freemasons but some of his views contrasted with that of the Masons. He decided to form his own society and one of their core beliefs was the abolishment of Monarchy. On May 1st, 1776, the 28-year-old Adam conducted the very first Illuminati meeting. There was a total attendance of five members. They established the rules of their new society that night. Illumination was the main goal of the Illuminati which, to put it another way, was to bring knowledge of true liberty to the people. He added mysticism to their society to make the republican group seem more mysterious. In 1780, Adam attracted the attention of Adolf Francis, a Baron, and an Occultist. The Baron seemed to approve of the Illuminati’s goals and he helped establish chapters across Germany. By 1782 their numbers swelled to around 600 men. The Illuminati attracted doctors, lawyers, politicians, intellectuals and the like. During 1784 their membership would hit about 3000 men. There were 13 degrees a member could attain, and this structure was in part modeled after the Masons. Yet they would meet their downfall between 1784 to 1785. A disillusioned member wrote to the Grand Duchess of Bavaria informing her of the secret societies. The letter was a mixture of truth and falsehoods. The Grand Duchess informed her husband, the Duke-Elector, about this and he would issue an edict effectively banning the formation of societies not prescribed by law. Then in 1785 another edict was passed specifically banning the Illuminati. Police were sent out to arrest members and confiscate anything to do with the Illuminati. In 1787 the Duke-Elector would pass a final edict which officially prohibited the Illuminati and made being a member worthy of a death sentence. Adam was banished and he would spend the rest of his days as a teacher of philosophy at a University in Saxony. Thus, this brings us to the end of the Illuminati.

OUTRO

Secret Societies are an interesting topic. Some of them still exist to this day, such as The Freemasons. I found this as an interesting topic to research and I hope you enjoyed hearing about it as much as I did reading about it. The script and citations for this episode and all other episodes can be found at https://18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. If you’d like to support the show, please share it and leave a review. I’ve been your host Cj, and thank you for listening to this episode of the 18th Century Podcast.

CITATIONS

Secret Societies.” Encyclopedia of Religion. . Encyclopedia.com. 3 Sep. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Freemasonry.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 30 Aug. 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/order-of-Freemasons.

Freemasonry and Brotherhood, http://www.msana.com/brotherhood.asp.

“History of Freemasonry.” United Grand Lodge of England – History of Freemasonry, https://www.ugle.org.uk/about-freemasonry/history-of-freemasonry.

“Boston Masons Organize First Grand Lodge in America.” John Brown Speaks in Concord, https://www.massmoments.org/moment-details/boston-masons-organize-first-grand-lodge-in-america.html.

Walton, Geri. “Freemasonry and the ‘Masonry of Adoption’ in 18th Century France.” Geri Walton, 23 Apr. 2019, https://www.geriwalton.com/freemasonry-and-the-masonry-of-adoption-in-18th-century-france/.

“Freemasonry.” New World Encyclopedia, . 11 May 2017, 14:33 UTC. 12 Sep 2019, 20:26 <//www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Freemasonry&oldid=1004729>.

“Who Were the Hellfire Club?: The Hellfire Club Archaeological Project.” Abarta Heritage Home, 29 June 2018, https://www.abartaheritage.ie/hellfire-club-archaeological-project/hellfire-club-history/hellfire-club/.&nbsp;

“Hellfire Club History: The Beginnings of the Infamous Secret Society.” Historic Mysteries, 7 Jan. 2017, https://www.historicmysteries.com/hellfire-club/.

The Illuminati.” Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Sep. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Fotostock, Maria Breuer/ImageBroker/Age, and Karger-Decker/Age Fotostock. “Meet the Man Who Started the Illuminati.” National Geographic, 3 Sept. 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2016/07-08/profile-adam-weishaupt-illuminati-secret-society/.

18th Century Podcast Episode 12 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft Picture

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/cj123/episodes/18th-Century-Podcast-Episode-12-Mary-Wollstonecraft-e505ds/a-al2a91

Summary

In this episode of the 18th Century Podcast we’ll take a look at the life of Mary Wollstonecraft. Though she was not as famous as her daughter, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. This episode will act as a brief bio for her life and struggles, through failed relationships, traveling to France during the Revolution, and the loss of those closest to her. She was not as towering as other figures of the time, but she still was important.

Script

INTRO

Welcome back to the 18th Century Podcast. I am your host, Cj. In today’s episode, we will be taking a look at the life of Mary Wollstonecraft. You may be wondering who Mary Wollstonecraft was, and I don’t blame you. She wasn’t a towering figure like Frederick the Great, but she was the mother of Mary Shelley, the author of, Frankenstein. If you’d like to read the script for this episode and its citations, go to 18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them.

PART 1 EARLY LIFE

Mary Wollstonecraft was born on April 27th, 1759, in London. She would be the second child out of seven total. Her father, Edward John, received a sizable inherence from his father, but he handled the funds poorly. Edward desired to become a Gentleman Farmer, yet as time marched on life would be marked with failure. The family would move to Epping, so he could pursue his goal. Edward had a violent streak about him too and was reportedly abusive. During her youth, Mary was envious of her older brother, Edward or Ned. He was her mother’s favorite, and the only child out of seven to receive a formal education. Ned also received a portion of the inheritance, left to him by their Grandfather. He would go on to become a lawyer. Mary would gain her ability to read from a friendship she made in her youth with a retired clergyman and his wife. She would familiarize herself with The Bible and works from ancient philosophers. She also showed an interest in the works of Milton and Shakespeare. During the 18th Century, there were few occupations for women of Mary’s standing. So, in 1778 she became a Lady’s Companion to a Mrs. Dawson, who resided in Bath. She was only 19 at the time. She would accompany Mrs. Dawson across England and attend to her. Mary wasn’t content working for Mrs. Dawson, but she did have the comfort of her closest friend, Fanny Blood. Her mother fell ill, and Mary returned home during 1781 to nurse her. It would be for not, her mother would perish during the Spring of 1782. After the death of her mother, Mary’s father would remarry and move to Wales. Her sister, Eliza, also married. Mary moved in with the Blood family, though impoverished, they took her in. To help offset the cost of an extra person in their household, Mary did needlework to assist with bringing in an income. Within months of Eliza married, she became pregnant. Eliza’s husband, Meredith Bishop, wrote to Mary in 1783, asking for assistance with the baby and Eliza’s deteriorating condition, which was mostly mentally. Mary would move out of the Blood’s house, and go and attend to her sister in the winter of 1783. Once she moved in, she presumed Eliza’s mental condition was due to the treatment of her husband. Eliza and Mary left the Bishop home in January of 1784. Under the law at the time, Eliza had to leave her newborn with her husband. The baby would die that August. Marry helped her sister get a legal separation. In February of the same year, Mary would meet up with her friend Fanny, and the two of them, along with Eliza and shortly after, Everina, another one of Mary’s sisters, joined them. The four women began to plan on opening a school. They would open their school in, Newington Green. During her stay in Newington Green, Mary befriended Reverend Richard Price, who would introduce her to liberal intellectuals of the time. Fanny soon decided to marry, and shortly after, became pregnant. Fanny and her husband decided to have their baby in Lisbon, Portugal. She invited Mary to accompany her, and the three of them set off in November of 1785. On the voyage to Lisbon, Mary met a man suffering from consumption. She attended to him while they crossed the waters. She would write about this experience in her novel, Mary, a Fiction. While in Portugal, Mary came to detest Portugeges culture, viewing it as superstitious. Fanny ended up giving birth prematurely, and both the baby and herself died shortly after. Mary would return to England, and it’s safe to say that she was devastated by the passing of her friend. The school which she helped establish was in financial ruin. She ended up publishing, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, in 1787. Mary would be publishing through a man named, Joseph Johnson. The advance she received would support her for a time, but she needed new work. She became a governess for an Irish family, the Kingsborough family. She was charged with watching over the children. During her time with the Kingsborough’s, she was very unhappy and was still grieving the loss of Fanny. She would travel across England and Irland with the family. However, Mary did not see eye to eye with Lady Kingsborough. Mary would view Lady Kingsborough as everything wrong with women of the time. Mary thought that Lady Kingsborough was weak, and it contrasted against Mary’s view of a strong woman. She ended up being fired by Lady Kingsborough. Mary returned to London during 1787 and gained employment with her old publisher, Joseph Johnson. She worked translating and advising Johnson in his business. She would also continue her writing during this time. In 1788, Johnson would start his, Analytical Review, which Mary would become a contributor. In 1791, Mary would attend a dinner hosted by Johnson in honor of Thomas Paine, regarding his most recent work, The Rights of Men, which was in defense of the French Revolution. At the dinner, many intellectuals would gather, among them was William Godwin. This would mark the initial meeting between Mary and William, and things did not start on the right foot. It was purported by Johnson that they argued over dinner, which overtook the conversation. In September of 1791, Mary would begin writing arguably her most popular work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She had an interest in the events occurring in France, and in February of 1792, she would meet, Charles Talleyrand, a French diplomat. Wanting to see the Revolution for herself, Mary would set off for Paris in December. Now, I’m aware that I’m pausing at an exciting part of this bio, but a short break needs to be taken. When we return, we’ll take a look at Mary in revolutionary France, and the final years of her life. Don’t go away, I’ll be right back.

PART 2 FRANCE AND FINAL YEARS

Welcome back. We’ll continue the second half of this episode by going over Mary’s time spent in France and the final years of her life. When Mary got to France, she met and ended up residing with an American, Captain Gilbert Imlay. They lived in a suburb of Paris. Unfortunately for Mary, at the time she reached Paris, it was the beginning of what would be known as the Jacobin Terror. French sentiments began to grow more and more antagonistic towards the British. You could say this was shocking because it’s not like the British and the French have a Century’s long history of hating each other. After a few months away from the main conflict in Paris, Imlay and Mary headed back to the city. They grew closer together, during their time away. When they did return, they went to the American Embassy, and Mary claimed to be Imlay’s wife. Though the two of them never married, there was more security in France being an American rather than a Brit. Mary became pregnant with his child. Yet the happy couple wasn’t as happy as we’d like to think. Imlay grew disloyal towards Mary. She would give birth in Le Havre, during 1794, and name their daughter after her deceased friend, Fanny. After birth, Imlay went to Paris, and Mary followed with their child. Imlay would abandon Mary and Fanny, heading for London. During her time in France, she watched as her allies were sent to the guillotine. Thomas Paine was imprisoned. Everything was getting worse. Mary and her baby would soon return to London. She would find Imlay and attempt suicide. He stopped her. It’s safe to say their relationship was rocky. Though after a few months, Imlay would send Mary on a business trip to Scandinavia. She was granted what was essentially power of attorney and representation for Imlay’s interests. She would take her daughter and her daughter’s nurse with her on this trip. After her business was concluded in Scandinavia, they returned to London. Mary would find Imlay living with an actress, further proving his disloyalty to her. Again, Mary would attempt suicide, but it was prevented. She would break off her relationship with Imlay. Then in April of 1796, she did something unexpected for the period. She called upon her old dinner acquaintance, William Godwin. He had read her most recent work, Letters from Sweden, and gained a new perspective, more positive perspective of her. They soon began talking and discovered their common interests in nature, other cultures, etc.. Over the next few months, their friendship grew into something stronger, and by August, they had become lovers. By March of 1797, Mary had become pregnant. They talked of marriage, which was a problem because the two of them both publically spoke out against marriage as a legal institution which neglected love. But they indulged in hypocrisy and married on March 29th, 1797. A few months later, Mary would give birth of August 30th to their new daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who would become, Mary Shelley. This was a short-lived happy occasion, as Mary soon would meet her end. Mary Wollstonecraft left of the world on September 10th, 1797 due to blood poisoning from childbirth. Mary Wollstonecraft was only 38 years old when she died.

OUTRO

Mary Wollstonecraft had a difficult life. Yet she would usher in a child who would become one of the most important fiction writers in history. Mary’s accomplishments should not be overlooked. She was a woman who deserves to be remembered. The script and citations for this episode and all other episodes can be found at https://18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. If you’d like to support the show, please share it and leave a review. I’ve been your host Cj, and thank you for listening to this episode of the 18th Century Podcast.

CITATIONS

Tomaselli, Sylvana, “Mary Wollstonecraft”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2018/entries/wollstonecraft/.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Mary Wollstonecraft.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 23 Apr. 2019, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Mary-Wollstonecraft.

Biography.com Editors. “Mary Wollstonecraft.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 26 June 2019, http://www.biography.com/scholar/mary-wollstonecraft.

Todd, Professor Janet. “History – British History in Depth: Mary Wollstonecraft: A ‘Speculative and Dissenting Spirit’.” BBC, BBC, 17 Feb. 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/wollstonecraft_01.shtml.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. “Where Did Mary Wollstonecraft Get Her Ideas?” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 2 June 2019, http://www.thoughtco.com/mary-wollstonecraft-early-years-3530791.

18th Century Podcast Episode 10 The Enlightenment

Painting of The Enlightenment

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/cj123/episodes/18th-Century-Podcast-Episode-10-The-Enlightenment-e4qupp/a-ak3oke

Summary

The Enlightenment is perhaps one of the most important philosophical and scientific movements in history. In today’s episode we cover a brief history of The Enlightenment, we go over some of it’s core ideas, and we’ll do a mini bio for John Locke.

Script

INTRO

Welcome back to the 18th Century Podcast, I am your host Cj. In today’s episode, we’ll be covering one of the most important topics of the 18th Century, The Enlightenment. We’ll be going over a brief history and some of the Philosophers and their ideas in this episode. If you’d like to read the script for this episode and its citations, go to 18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. Let’s begin with a brief history of, The Englightenment.

PART 1: THE ENLIGHTENMENT, A HISTORY

The Englightenment, also known as, The Age Of Reason, began in the 17th Century. The ideas brought forth during this time will be carried over into the 18th Century and hold great influence. The Enlightenment would hold sway over many different aspects of life, such as philosophy, politics, science, etc… During my research for this episode, I found many contesting points declaring when the enlightenment began. The earliest of which started with Francis Bacon in 1620, with his publication of Novum Organum. In 1651, Thomas Hobbes would publish his book, Leviathan. In the book, he would argue, in simplest terms, for absolute monarchy. The idea of social contract theory would find its root’s with Hobbes as well. Then jumping forward to the 1680s we see two important texts published. The fist is Principia Mathematica, by Isiac Newton in 1686. The second is, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, by John Locke in 1689. A year later John Locke would publish arguably his most important contribution to The Enlightenment, his Second Treatise On Government. Then from the 1730s-1780s, we get a bulk of Enlightenment texts. We’ll see the writings of Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Smith, Kant, and many others as well. In 1748, Montesquieu would put forth his political work, The Spirit of the Laws. Then in 1762, Rousseau would publish his work, On the Social Contract. On March 9th of 1776, Adam Smith’s, The Wealth of Nations is published. This would mark one of the most interesting economic texts was only a few months off from the Declaration of Independence. Then heading towards the 1780s, we get the work of Immanuel Kant. What’s interesting about The Englightenment is the fact that it’s pretty much a decades-long conversation between philosophers. The Enlightenment would span across Europe and the Americas. Now that I’ve covered a very brief history, I think it’s time that we take a closer look into some of the ideas of, Then Enlightenment.

PART 2: ENLIGHTENMENT IDEAS

Let’s kick things off with arguably the most influential ideas of The Enlightenment, politics. When The Enlightenment begins, we see absolute monarchy being espoused by philosophers. Yet as the decades start moving forward, they begin to tend towards Republicanism. In Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, he purposed the idea of the divine right of kings. The basic idea of this is, Kings are appointed by God and thus are justified to rule over others. I think it’s obvious to say that this type of doctrine would be popular with absolute monarchs. Yet, when John Locke came in with his two treatises on government, it was basically a refutation of the idea of the divine right of kings. Also from Locke, we get more development in the area of Natural Rights. Locke would come to argue for the Natural Rights of life, liberty, and property. Locke was also a proponent of Natural Law. Then with Montesquieu, we get the idea of a few different forms of government which he lists as Republics, Monarchies, and Despotisms. I would like to note that we get more of the modern view of Republicanism from Montesquieu, which in the modern vernacular would be a Representative Democracy. If you went to school in the United States, you were probably taught about this idea. Yet as a fun fact, this idea of Republicanism as presented by Montesquieu clashes with a more classical approach as presented by Cicero. Cicero would have described a Republic as a mixed form of government which combines aspects of monarchy, democracy, and aristocracy into one system which balances itself. I thought it would be interesting to share how definitions and ideas change over time, and this was one great example. Now with Rousseau, he presents the idea of The Social Contract. The Social contract was introduced before, but he refined the idea. He would contrast with Locke’s view more so, by being in favor of direct democracy as his view on the best way to govern society. The political works of The Enlightenment influenced the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Now moving forward to the field of economics, I think it’s safe to say, Adam Smith’s, The Wealth of Nations, is perhaps the most influential economic work out of the 18th Century. It introduced the world to the economic idea of Capitalism. From then on, it revolutionized the world. Many schools of thought on economics have sprung up since Smith’s work. On the scientific side of things, we saw many advancements. The basis of the modern Scientific Method began to form. Newton made advancements in mathematics and the study of gravity. The discovery of the planet Uranus by William Herschel occurred. Also, the mass of the Sun was calculated. You would also see Benjamin Franklin’s work with electricity. Now regarding the religious side of, The Enlightenment, there were many developments too. The most prominent view associated with this period would probably be, Deism. The Deistic view is that there is God, and God did create the universe but does not interfere with the going on’s of it. The other idea of Deism was that God could be known through reason. I might make an episode in the future of Deism since it’s a pretty fascinating topic. But also during, The Enlightenment was a greater sense of religious tolerance. You see an expansion of Protestantism during the period as well. I believe what I presented here covers some of the most basic and widespread views of, The Enlightenment. Now, I’m going to take a short break, and when I come back we’ll take a brief look into the life of John Locke.

PART 3:A Brief Bio of John Locke

Welcome back to the 18th Century Podcast. We’ll continue our second half of the show by taking a brief look into the life of John Locke. John Locke was born on August 29th, 1632. He was born in Wrington, Somerset, England, and grew up in Pensford, which was close to Bristol. John’s father was a lawyer and a Calvery Capitan during the English Civil Wars. After the first Civil War, John’s father secured a spot for his son at Westminster School, in London. John would attend the school when he was only 14 years old. Though John was gifted in academics and elected as a King’s Scholar in 1650, he would come to despise the school system. He disapproved of corporal punishment, and some of the behavior of the students as well. In 1693 he would put pen to paper and give his thoughts on education, arguing for a private tutor over boarding schools. When he was 20 years old, he attended Christ Church, at Oxford. In 1663, John was appointed senior censor in Christ Church, which among his duties were to oversee undergraduates and give lectures. Locke eventually became a member of the Royal Society and began to study medicine. In 1675 Locke traveled to France after losing favor with King Charles II. By the time he left for France, John had earned his bachelors degree in medicine from Oxford. During his time in France, he would befriend the intellectuals and protestants. He would head home in 1679. In September of 1683, Locke would make his way to Holland. The reason being was that John’s friend a few years prior was being closely watched by the English Government and fled to Holland, which the friend died in 1683. John himself was being closely watched by the English government at the time too. John would stay in Holland for the next serval years. He returned to England in February of 1689. He became more involved in politics under the newly crowned Queen Mary II. John would assist in writing the English Bill of Rights. He spent his final years with friends and continuing with his writing. John Locke died on October 28th, 1704.

OUTRO


The Enlightenment was probably one of the greatest philosophical movements in history. I would have liked to have made this episode a bit longer, but I didn’t have enough time this week, my apologies. The script and citations for this episode and all other episodes can be found at https://18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. If you’d like to support the show, please share it and leave a review. I’ve been your host Cj, and thank you for listening to this episode of the 18th Century Podcast.

CITATIONS

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