Lesson video

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Hello, and welcome back to history at the Oak National Academy.

My name is Mr. Arscott.

I'm really looking forward to our second lesson where we're going to start looking at some of the enlightenment ideas we looked at last lesson might've had an impact on societies during the enlightenment.

So we're going to be looking at enlightenment culture.

What is actually like to live at that point.

And then we're going to use that from today's lesson to then think about our inquiry going forward.

Did the enlightenment cause a revolution in the American colonies? So, what I'm going to need for you today is a piece of paper and a pen and I'm going to ask you to start by writing down today's title once I get my head out of the way.

So, our title today is "Enlightenment Society".

If you haven't copied that down yet, pause the video, whilst you do that and then unpause it when you're done.

So this is part of our inquiry, looking at whether the enlightenment fueled revolution.

What we mean by that? It's that the ideas that were developed during the enlightenment in the 18th century caused there to be these revolutions which swept across the world where ordinary people over threw their governments.

And if you remember from last lesson the enlightenment was all about using reason and experimentation to come up with these new and exciting ideas.

The picture on the left shows people being fascinated by the new things that could be discovered through enlightenment thought.

So in the examples of these new ideas that we looked at were things like natural rights from John Locke or even the ideas of individuals being free to choose the laws through the ideas of Rousseau.

Now, //what we're going to start with state is I want you to have a look at two images.

I want you to see these two images.

And I want you to play a bit of spot the difference.

So just pause the video for 30 seconds and have a look at how these two women look differently.

Before you do that both these women lived during the 18th century.

So both of them lived during the period we call the enlightenment.

So just pause the video for 30 seconds and play a bit of spot the difference.

Welcome back.

So we're really interested to see what you saw, what the difference between these two women let's point out some of the things that I saw.

So let's think first of all, about the woman on the left.

Now, this woman is called Marie Antoinette and she was one of the Queens of France during the 18th century.

Now just start having look at her dress.

Now it's a very detailed, but would've been a very expensive dress.

You could see these different materials probably lace, which provided all these extra details on the dress.

It's also worth thinking about her hair.

It would have taken ages and ages to get her hair, to look that, to look like that.

Now this dress would have been very, very expensive, but it also would have been very impractical.

So it would have been very difficult to do ordinary things wearing this kind of outfit.

And as a result, it would have been very restrictive.

Now you can actually see that the dress itself was restrictive in the sense that it physically restricted Marie Antoinette's body.

It made it look smaller than it was.

So, this dress and this fashion in general for Marie Antoinette would have been very expensive.

She was one of most fashionable women in France at the time, but it also would have made it difficult for her to do everyday things.

It made Marie Antoinette look a bit like an object, something to be admired rather than as a woman that could do things for herself.

Now let's have a look at the picture on the right.

Now, you can notice that the clothes in general, are much more practical, much more looser.

You can imagine that this woman will be able to do things herself.

And you might also notice the object she's holding.

I've labelled it there.

This woman is holding a sword.

So that raised some questions.

We've talked about what the differences in dress are, but what different kinds of lives do you think these two women, these two 18th century women lived? Well, Marie Antoinette lived a very rich life where she was seen probably as an object.

Someone who's meant to be beautiful and to be admired, but the woman on the right was someone who did things for herselves, herself.

Now what the story that connects these two women is part of the story of this lesson.

How do we go from situation where lots of women in France were behaved in a way similar to Marie Antoinette, where they are meant to be seen as beautiful and wore these restrictive, but impractical clothes to a situation where women were doing things themselves and even holding swords and taking action.

So our question for today is did the enlightenment help explain this change? Now, It is definitely not The, the enlightenment is not the only possible reason I went from one situation or another.

That's what I want you to be thinking in the back of your mind.

Could the enlightenment have helped change the lives of women during the 18th century? So let's look at another painting from the 18th century.

I want you to again, study some of the details, details, look carefully at what you can see, what you can spot.

What might this picture be able to tell us about the 18th century? I want you to pause the video for 30 seconds and see if you can spot anything you might want to write down some notes or things you can spot.

For example, these paintings in the back.

Think about what I might tell you.

So pause the video now and just jot down any details or things you can see.

What do you think might be helpful? Welcome back.

So I'm sure you spotted loads of interesting things.

Let's talk about these paintings first of all.

So this looks like a very expensive room.

This looks like the room that would be owned by someone who's rich.

Someone who's wealthy, because they've got all of these amazing pieces of art around the room in these gold coloured frames.

And if we look at what the people are wearing, there are lots of people in this painting.

They also seem to be dressed in expensive, rich clothes, not quite as fancy and elegant as Marie Antoinette, who we saw before, but still these people are well-dressed.

You notice, you might notice that both the men and the women are wearing wigs and during the 18th century, that seems very fashionable.

So this is the house of someone who is wealthy and rich.

Now, as I've just alluded to or mentioned, we can see both men and women in this picture.

So what do we think is actually going on? What are they doing? Well, if you look at this man near the middle, you might see that he's got some papers and seems to be looking up.

now, what's going on, is this is a meeting which was known as a salon.

And in this meeting, a reading is happening of a play by Voltaire.

Now these meetings, known as the salon, happened all over Paris during the period known as the Enlightenment, and what happened is new exciting Enlightenment ideas or new books published by enlightenment thinkers would be shared and people would read from them.

And then the group would discuss them.

Now, this is really exciting because it shows that the ideas that would be come, which have been developed by Enlightenment thinkers, weren't just being contained in books.

They're being, they're becoming part of people's everyday lives.

They're talking about and discussing them and perhaps most interesting, interestingly, from this painting, what we can see is men and women participating in this, these discussions.

So this might not look like a particularly exciting image from us today, for us today, but at the time this showed exciting new changes.

So, what was going on in enlightenment society? Well, the painting before, I said, these are very wealthy people.

Now, the people that were enjoying Enlightenment ideas, they were from the wealthy classes in society.

So that could either be the really rich upper class.

It could be known as that nobility or the Aristocracy, but also a new group who are making money.

And this group was known as the Bourgeoisie, how sometimes these are known as the middle classes and the Bourgeoisie was for people that were making money for themselves.

They weren't inheriting it from their parents, the Bourgeoisie were making money from trade sometimes through slave trade.

Which was happening at this time sometimes through other businesses as well.

Now, once the Bourgeoisie had this money, they start to behave like the members of the aristocracy or the nobility, and they wanted to dress like them.

And they also wanted to do things in a similar way to the aristocracy.

And so what developed was this thing we call "salon culture" and the painting, we saw before was an example of a salon.

And this painting we see now is another example of a salon.

What happened in the salon and the salons were people's private rooms, people's houses, where they held these meetings, is they would talk about new enlightenment culture.

They talk about new arts, they would talk about new political ideas.

And perhaps one of the most interesting things about the salon was that because both men and women were present, it, it fused male and female culture at the time.

In fact, many of the salons were actually chaired by women.

And so, they got to choose the topics for discussion and the way that people behaved.

And the salons in Paris became a hotbed of flirtation where young women would learn from old women, how to flirt with men and try to get a man to marry them.

So what we've got so far is in the salons, discussed new enlightenment ideas.

They were often chaired by women and they often mixed members of the Bourgeoisie, the new wealthy middle class with members of the older Aristocracy, the wealthy people who inherited their wealth.

So the salons were a place where social class is mixed and different genders mixed.

Now they're also very, very interesting because they were a mixture of the privates uh, sphere.

So people living in their own houses and the public sphere that's because they took place in people's own homes.

So they didn't need to behave in the way that you maybe expect to behave outside of home.

But because so many people were there, it was kind of a slightly public space too, as a new way to behaving, spread across the wealthy classes of Paris.

So both the Bourgeoisie and the Aristocracy, they mix and do it new ways to behave.

Now, both of these social classes could also be known as, the literate classes that's because both these groups were the people that could read and write at the time.

So you would not get, uh, town workers or peasants being invited to the salons to discuss the new enlightenment ideas.

Or to start behaving in the new ways, expected in the salon.

Now I want you to have a read of this quote from one of the enlightenment thinkers we looked at last lesson, Montesquieu.

Now I'm going to ask you to read it by yourself, and then I'll read through it with you afterwards.

Let's just pause the video once you read through it.

And once you read it, I want you to think about what might this be saying? What might it mean? Let's just pause the video now whilst you read it.


Welcome back.

So Montesquieu said they're, referring to women's, very weakness.

It gives them more gentleness and moderation, which can make for good government rather than tough and ferocious virtues.

So, what do we think Montesquieu is trying to say here? Now, some of you might have had quite an extreme reaction to looking at this quote.

You might have thought Montesquieu is being fairly sexist.

So let's highlight a few bits.

So the first line, Montesquieu says, they're, referring to women's, very weakness.

So he seems to be quite sexist here, He's describing women as weak.

But what he goes on to say is actually a radical idea at the time, which is the opposite of being sexist towards women.

He says, it gives them more gentleness and moderation, which can make for good government.

So what he's saying here, is women could become good rulers, women could be involved in politics.

Women maybe should be employed by governments.

Now this was a radical idea at the time.

Today, we're very used to this idea.

There there's been lots of female political rulers, and there's lots of women who are represented in our parliaments, but at the time women were not involved in politics.

They weren't involved in ruling.

But what Montesquieu is saying, is based on his experiences of seeing women behave and lead the salons, he thinks that they could be good members of government.

He thinks that women's minds are just as capable about thinking good ideas about political ideas as men's minds.

So he thinks that there could be a new form of government, which includes women in it.


Let's pause now, I want you to have a think about what we've been learning.

I want you to think about this question.

How influential do you think enlightenment was at the time? So I'm going to ask you to pause the video for one minute, read through the four options and then have a deep think about this question.

There isn't necessarily a wrong answer, but I want you to think about what you think might be the answer.

So please pause the video now, whilst you have a think about that.


Welcome back.


I'm not going to tell you whether you're right or wrong here.

I'm just going to give you a bit more information to see if that makes you change your mind.

So take a note of which one you've chosen, and then we'll learn a bit more information.

So how influential was the enlightenment? Well, this picture on the right shows some social divisions during the 18th century.

So you've got a representative of the aristocracy over here.

He's dressed in mediaeval armour, even though that wouldn't have been worn at the time, we've also got a member of the clergy.

So someone who works at a church over here now, both these two groups, the ones that are standing up, a fairly wealthy people.

And at the bottom, we have a representative of the peasant classes.

So someone who makes their living from farming.

And as you can see, he seems to be doing more work than the other two.

So how influential was the enlightenment for people like peasants or town workers? Well, not really.

Peasants and town workers in general, couldn't read or write.

So they didn't get to read the new enlightenment ideas that had been published.

They also weren't invited to the salons to discuss these new ideas.

So interestingly, even though lots of the enlightenment thinkers were coming up with ideas that would have benefited everyone in society, especially the poor peasants and the poor town workers, the peasants and town workers didn't really get to participate in discussing ideas or hearing about the ideas.

Now, if we think about how influential was the enlightenment outside of Europe, again, the answer is maybe not that influential.

Now there's some parts of world during the 18th century, which had Europeans living there, especially in the Americas and in those places the enlightenment would have had influence.

So two very famous Americans who will go on to play an important in the American revolution, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

They both have really interesting enlightenment ideas and they wrote letters to enlightenment thinkers in Europe, but outside of the world where Europeans lived, so outside Europe and the Americas, the enlightenment didn't have a huge amount of influence.

Most people didn't think that the ideas that were coming up from the enlightenment thinkers were particularly interesting or relevant to them.

Now, that's assuming when we talk about Europe, we're including Russia within it because enlightenment was very influential in Russia.

Now this woman that we see in the right is known as Catherine the Great, and she was a ruler of Russia during the enlightenment and she, and a few other Monarchs at the time got the title or were referred to as enlightened despots.

Now, what that means is they were rulers who had absolute power themselves.

So they were Kings or Queens, who had complete control of their countries.

They didn't need to rule with a parliament, but they were really interested in enlightenment ideas.

So Catherine the great actually read about enlightenment ideas and tried to talk to enlightenment philosophers and wrote letters to them.

And she tried to apply enlightenment ideas to how she's ruling Russia.

So one example of something tried to do is she's interested in enlightenment ideas about humans being free.

As she tried to abolish a form of slavery that existed in Russia at the time called serfdom.

Now, ultimately she wasn't particularly successful there, but she did.

She was able to apply some other enlightenment ideas.

So she managed to make the laws fairer in Russia.

So it was clearer to Russians what individual rights they had.

Now, I want us to have a brief think about whether or not enlightenment thinkers or what we think enlightenment thinkers would have thought about enlightened, despite, despots.

So would they approve, have approved or disapproved of the idea that being an enlightenment enlightened despot.

So just pause the video for a couple of seconds.

Now, whilst you think about that question.

Welcome back.

So, interestingly, enlightenment thinkers probably would have disagreed with each other about what they thought about enlightened despots.

Now, Voltaire, who we can see here, he was one of the enlightenment thinkers and he was actually really interested in what Catherine the Great was trying to do.

And he spent a part of his life writing letters to the Catherine the Great, and she wrote letters back and they talked about how she could improve Russia.

And she wants to apply some of Voltaire's ideas in order to make Russia a more enlightened country.

However, Rousseau, if you remember, he was the enlightenment thinker who started to think these radical ideas about democracy, about whether all men should be involved in choosing their laws.

And it's very likely that he wouldn't have approved the idea of an enlightened despot.

Although he might have liked the idea of rulers trying to apply enlightenment ideas.

He thought that the people are not free unless they get to choose their laws, so he wouldn't have liked the idea of one ruler having having absolute power Right, we're now in a really good position for you to have a go at the comprehension questions.

So I'm going to read out the question now.

So they're as clear as possible, then I'm going to give you our next set of instructions.

One, what types of activity took place in salon? Two, In what ways did the salons show the enlightenment was changing attitudes Three, which groups were unaffected by the new enlightenment ideas Four, why was Catherine the Great known as an enlightened despot and five, which enlightenment thinkers would have disagreed with Catherine the Great's or with Catherine's attempts to reform Russia? Now you might have an idea about some of the answers ready, but what I want you to do, is I want you to pause the video, go to the next page and read through the worksheet slides, which you can have a bit more information and then have a go at the comprehension questions.

Now it's going to be best if you try to write your answer in full, meaningful sentences, once you read through it, and once you've had to go onto the questions, I then you want you to return the video and we'll go through the answers.

So, please pause the video now and have a go at answering those questions.

Welcome back.

Right, Let's see how well you did.

So question one, what types of activity took place in salons? So an acceptable answer would be, people read new books.

The good answer in full sentences would be in salons, wealthy people would meet to discuss new scientific or political ideas.

Sometimes they would listen to readings from recently published books.

So the good answer, and that is going to be a full, meaningful sentence.

Try to always answer like that.

Now you may not have exactly the same wording as me.

That doesn't matter.

You may still have the correct answer.

So look for common language.

And if you've got something that seems similar, Give yourself a tick.

If you've got something this seems very different than write out my good answer.

So you've got some really good notes.


Question two.

In what ways did the salons show the enlightenment was changing attitudes? An acceptable answer, women often hosted salons.

Good answer, which puts them into full sentences.

The sounds were affected enlightenment changes because they were often hosted by women.

And in previous centuries, most women had been excluded from discussions about political ideas.

Secondly, enlightenment thinkers challenged traditional social boundaries, and in salons members of the aristocracy and Bourgeoisie often met, okay, question three, which groups were unaffected by the new enlightenment ideas.

Peasants were unaffected.

A good answer, which puts that into full sentences.

Peasants were unaffected by new enlightenment ideas because they mainly could not read or right.

Furthermore in France, the absolute Monarchs were unwilling to change how France was governed.

Question four.

Why was Catherine the great known as an enlightened despot? Catherine the great was an absolute Monarch and wrote letters to Voltaire.

a good answer, which puts that into a set full sentences.

Catherine the Great was known as an enlightened despot because she was an absolute Monarch, but she tried to use her power to introduce enlightened reforms to Russia.

During her reign, she wrote letters to Voltaire about how she could introduce enlightenment ideas to Russia.

And question five is the hard question which enlightenment thinkers would have disagreed with Catherine's attempts to reform Russia, except for the answer that would be Rousseau.

A good answer: Rousseau is likely to have disagreed with Catherine's attempts to rule Russia because he did not believe one person should have absolute power.

He would have wanted Catherine to allow Russians to vote on laws.


Really well done.

At having to go on answering those questions.

Remember, if there's any you weren't really sure about just get back in the video and look at my answer.

And you can add to your notes remember, you can pause the video at any point to help doing that.


I now want us to return to our inquiry question that introduced the start of last lesson, did the enlightenment fuel the American revolution, which means did the ideas in the enlightenment end up causing a revolution in America.

Now we haven't looked at anything about what happened in America yet, but we might still have some information which could help us think about how revolutionary the enlightenment was.

So would people living during the enlightenment have experienced revolutionary change? Now that's what we've learned about in today's lesson.

What is it like to live during the enlightenment? So I want you to think about which groups might experience lots of change.

That's what I mean by revolutionary and which groups might have experienced less change.

And what I've got for you here is a few sentence starters that might help you structure writing and some key words.

And if you include some of those key words in your answer is likely you're going to produce any that's really, really good.

So I'm going to ask you to have a go at trying to answer that.

Now it's going to require a lot of deep thought that by thinking about it is likely to develop your historical knowledge and make you think more like a expert historian.

So pause video now so you can have a go at doing that.

And then we're near the end of the lesson, Okay.

Well done for your really hard work today, It was really fun trying to tell you about what it was like living during the enlightenment.

So next lesson, we're going to start looking at what was happening in the Americas and how these ideas and these new ways of thinking that had come about during the enlightenment caused a revolution.

So the final thing I'm going to ask for you is for you to have a go at the end of lesson quiz, so just stop the video and then go on to that.

Then you're done for today.

Well done.