Analyze the relationship between the Enlightenment and changes in European culture.Analyze the relationship between the Enlightenment and changes in European culture.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the themes and values of the Enlightenment had a direct correlation to the changes that took place throughout Europe and in America.  For example, the praising of intellect and the notion of rational thought forced political orders to be mindful of their justification.  Reigning political structures could not simply be accepted because they had existed.  Their legitimacy could only come about through intellectual reasoning. It was for this reason that democracy was seen as a force that undermined many of the political structures.  The idea that individuals possessed a domain or realm that was inherently good, not to be taken away by any external end, also was seen in the embrace of individual rights.  The sense of subjective entitlement was rooted in the Enlightenment's lauding of the individual and devaluing of structures that devalued the individual.  Human beings were seen as the source or origin of greatness and glory, and within this, political orders and social orders had to acknowledge the entitlement of the individual, creating a great deal of social and political change.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The Enlightenment changed the focus of European culture from the Church to the arts. People became more interested in the humanistic endeavors, and the Church has less control over their everyday lives. The focus on invention also produced new products and medicines to make life easier.