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Hello, and welcome to history of the Oak National Academy.

My name is Mr. Arscott.

Normally I teach in Norfolk, but today I'm going to teach you wherever you are in the country.

And I'm really excited to introduce this lesson because it's part of an inquiry on the Age of Revolutions, which I think is the most important and exciting time in history.

It's a time when ordinary people were inspired by exciting ideas and rose up and challenged their rulers.

And today's lesson is looking at the Enlightenment and the Enlightenment or during the Enlightenment there are all these new ideas which excites people and make people rethink the way they live their lives and the way they're ruled.

And this is part of a broader set of lessons where we're looking at whether the Enlightenment caused the American Revolution, so whether it caused a Revolution in America.

So I'm going to get my head out of the way so can comprehend today's title and then we'll begin.

Now, before we start learning about the Enlightenment itself, I want to tell you a bit about the period in which the Enlightenment took place.

As a period known as The Age of Revolutions, and it was an exciting time to live.

It was a time when ordinary people rose up and challenged their rulers.

People were unhappy with the traditional ways that their country has been run.

They didn't like the fact that monarchs previously had all the power or that the church had forced people to live in a traditional way.

And new and exciting ideas inspired people to stand up to their rulers and try to take power for themselves and imagined completely new forms of society and new ways to live.

And during The Age of Revolutions, a series of revolutions spread across different parts of the world.

During these revolutions, monarchs were executed, whole new countries were created and heroes rose up and fell.

So, it is an exciting time to live.

Now before the Age of Revolutions, was this time known as the Enlightenment.

And that's what we're going to try to learn about today.

And we're going to be thinking in the back of our minds did the Enlightenment caused these revolutions? So, let's find out a bit about what the Enlightenment was.

Now, the way that we're going to try to find out a bit about the Enlightenment is to study this painting really carefully.

Now, this is a painting produced during the Enlightenment.

So, just pause the video for a second and have a look and see if you can work out what you think is going on.

So this is a bit of a strange painting.

What we can see is a group of people staring at some, at a strange object and looking completely fascinated.

Now, a couple of important things to point out the faces of everyone is literally being lit up by this object.

And what is this object? Well, it's a scientific device for measuring.

In fact, it's used to measure the movement of planets.

And what's really interesting is that all the people around this object are completely fascinated by it.

Now, that's because during the Enlightenment people were fascinated with using science to discover new knowledge, and they're excited about the new knowledge they could gain.

Now, before the Enlightenment there'd been an earlier period where people just started getting excited about some ideas, that period was known as the Renaissance and you may have studied that previously at school.

Now, a usual way to find out about the Enlightenment is to think about how it's different from the Renaissance.

So during the Renaissance, people start to turn back in time and look at what happened in the Classical Period.

So, that means during the time of the Roman Empire, so Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and they become interested in these objects back then and thought about how the knowledge from the Classical Period could help them understand their lives today.

Now the Enlightenment was similar in one sense, involved individuals think of themselves, but unlike in the Renaissance people weren't looking backwards instead they were looking forward.

They were excited by what science could tell them and how science could show there was new knowledge.

People will no longer relying on old traditional ways of finding things out, such as looking at the Bible.

And people thought that through using their own reason and through using experimentation, so using the key parts of science they could discover new knowledge.

And this excited them.

So, to put this in context, let's look at this really big zoomed out timeline.

So, we can see the Classical Period.

It's the period before, or the period when the Romans were still around.

So, when the Romans leave Britain that signals the end of the Classical Period, at least in Britain.

Then you might also studied previously Henry VIII's break with Rome, which happened in the 16th century.

Now, what we're looking at is the period between that and today.

So, let's zoom into another timeline.

So, the Renaissance happened around the time that Henry VIII made the break with Rome and the Enlightenment started the end of the 17th century and went on throughout the 18th century.

And that's going to be our focus for today and tomorrow's lesson and what could be our next lesson.

And we're going to be thinking about how the Enlightenment might've caused those Revolutions I spoke about earlier.

So, first thing I want you to do, I want you to go ahead and answer this question.

which description best describes the Enlightenment? I can ask you to pause the video, read through the four options, then un-pause it when you've made your choice.

So, please pause the video now.

Welcome back.

Okay, well done if you chose option four.

So, the Enlightenment was an 18th century movement, which was inspired by how science could discover new knowledge.

So, what was the Enlightenment? Well, sometimes it's that its referred to as the Age of Reason.

And the reason it's called the Age of Reason was because people started to try to think for themselves and work out things for themselves.

Now, the word Enlightenment comes from the idea of illumination, meaning to be lit up.

And the thought was, by people using that own reason, thinking for themselves, exploring for themselves, experimenting for themselves, their minds would be lit up.

They'd get this new knowledge and it would inspire them and excite them.

And they'd be able to make different choices because they had this new knowledge.

Now the Enlightenment was partly, or in fact mainly caused by a series of amazing scientific discoveries that happened just before it.

That is known as a Scientific Revolution and the Scientific Revolution inspired Enlightenment thinkers because people realised they could use these new scientific devices on new scientific ideas to understand the world.

And one of the crucial things about the Scientific Revolution is knowledge starts to be gained, which was not contained in the traditional sources of knowledge.

So, traditionally Europeans had found their knowledge in classical ancient books like the Bible or things that were from Classical Greece or Rome.

But new knowledge was discovered through the scientific devices of scientific ideas, which weren't contained in these books.

Now, this included being able to see tiny, tiny objects using microscopes, and it also included the discovery of whole new continents like the Americas, which had not been mentioned in the Bible.

So, what are the key parts of Enlightenment thought? Well, the key ways Enlightenment thinkers thought was using reason and experimentation.

Now, one way in this, in which we can see this is through scientific thought.

So, this involved the scientific method of experimenting and checking whether your results fit with your theory.

And this gave the thought that knowledge could be limitless.

That if you had the right method, the right thing to experiment in the right ideas, humans could potentially extend their knowledge beyond their wildest dreams. Human knowledge was no longer expected to just be limited to what was contained to the Bible and other old books.

But potentially humans could work out brand new things themselves.

Now, at this point, I want you to have a look at the image I've put on the right hand side.

Now it's quite strange, but it's worth studying it for a second.

What do you think is going on? Well, surprisingly, the figure that you can see at the top, you might have thought before that could be God or a godlike figure they're in robes, they're in the clouds.

This is the kind of thing that you might expect to see in some Christian artwork.

When in fact, this person isn't meant to be a God it's meant to be sir Isaac Newton, the famous scientist who discovered gravity.

And, what's happening is you can see a Ray of light coming behind Newton's head and being reflected down onto the desk of this man down here.

This man down here is one of the Enlightenment thinkers.

He is known as a Volta.

And what this picture quite nicely captures is the way that scientific ideas were inspiring Enlightenment thinkers to think for themselves.

So, what's the other big branch of Enlightenment thought? Well, the other big branch of Enlightenment thought is about political ideas.

Enlightenment thinkers were inspired by what had happened during the Scientific Revolution.

And they wondered whether they could use reason and experimentation to rethink how people should live their lives and how governments should rule.

And they came up with some key ideas, which lots of Enlightenment thinkers share the idea of Liberty, which means freedom.

So, that individual should be free to make their own big decisions about life and we're going to look at later called natural rights, the idea that individuals have certain freedoms, which they should get a birth and no government should be able to take away.


Let's have another think about a question.

So, which of the following ways of learning were associated with the Enlightenment? I'm again going to ask you to pause for one minute, read through the options and un-pause it when you've made your choice.


Welcome back.

Well done if you chose option one.

So, using reason and experimentation were key ways of learning associated with the Enlightenment.

That's what the Enlightenment thinkers thought you should use in order to discover new knowledge.

So, we're going to turn our focus towards political ideas.

So, ideas about power.

And, that's going to be what we're going to be looking at in the next few lessons of this inquiry.

Now, I know to properly understand Enlightenment Political ideas.

It's worth thinking briefly about a big political idea from before the Enlightenment.

So, Pre-Enlightenment Political idea.

And this picture is a very famous image from the front cover of a work by a Pre-Enlightenment Political thinker.

Now, look really carefully at what makes up the body of the large man in the background.

Can you see it? Well, if you look really closely you might be able to see that his body is made up of lots and lots of smaller people.

And what's he holding? Well, he's holding a big sword.

Now, this figure was a Pre-Enlightenment idea about what a ruler should be like.

So, what a Monarch or a King or Queen should be like.

The thought was the Monarch, in some way, symbolised everyone else that's in the country.

Everyone else that is in the kingdom was there to make the Monarch more powerful.

So there, they will actually literally form the body of the Monarch.

And then the Monarch is so powerful that they can rule over the entire kingdom.

And if necessary, use the sword to enforce their rule, to make people obey them.

Now, Enlightenment thinkers didn't really like this idea much.

They didn't like this idea of one person having absolute power over everyone else.

They called this idea sovereignty and they didn't think that one person should be sovereign over everyone else.

So, should have complete power over everyone else.

So, let's have a look at some of the Enlightenment ideas.

Now, the enlightenment ideas came from a huge number of different people who thought really hard and published books and discuss them.

Now we're just going to look at four examples of some political ideas from the Enlightenment.

So firstly, we have some ideas from John Locke.

Now, John Locke wrote a book where he talked about the idea of individual Liberty.

So, he thought that individuals should be free to do what they want.

And he thought that any government that stops individuals having freedom to do what they want was doing something wrong and should be challenged.

And the way that he tried to argue that is, he talked about these things called Natural Rights.

These are rights that every single human should have from birth and therefore no government should be able to take away.

These included things like freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and things like that.


Next we have a political thinker could Montesquieu.

And Montesquieu tried to develop Locke's ideas about freedom and natural rights.

I was thinking about, how do you make sure governments protect them? Or how do you stop a government infringing on people's natural rights? And he came up with a powerful idea called the Separation of Powers.

And the thought of it was that no one individual in government should be able to do all the different jobs.

So, if you had different people in government doing different jobs, that means that no one individual could become too powerful.

So, you wouldn't have a figure like the Pre-Enlightenment sovereign from before that we looked at, who might have total power.

Next, we have the Enlightenment thing that we talked about before, Voltaire that we saw in that previous image.

And Voltaire argued very keenly for freedom of speech.

He thought that everyone should be able to say whatever they wanted.

And he thought it was really important that people just say that even if people disagree with each other.

He thought we learned a lot, just by having that disagreement.

He also argued very keenly for religious tolerance.

He thought that no one person could know for certain what the right way to practise religion was or what God really wanted was.

He thought it was important that everyone was tolerant of different religious views.

And finally, we have a potentially, almost radical Enlightenment political thinker.

This was Rousseau.

And Rousseau argued that the best way to limit the power of governments and to protect everyone's individual Liberty, which were other Enlightenment thinkers were interested in was to make sure countries were democratic, so that all the people got to have a say in what laws they had to follow.

And he thought that way, you could protect his the freedoms because everyone would get to choose what the laws were.


Some of the other Enlightenment thinkers thought Rousseau's ideas went too far and they're too dangerous.

As we're going to find out, they did end up having a lot of influence.


You're now in a really good position to have a go at trying to answer some comprehension questions.

So, I'm going to read them out now.

So, they're as clear as possible.

And then, I'm going to give you your next instruction.

Which scientist inspired Voltaire's writings? Why is the period known as the 'Enlightenment'? Three.

What is another name given to the Enlightenment? Four.

How did Monstesquieu try to improve on Locke's ideas about limiting the power of government? And five.

Which is a bit harder.

What do you think Voltaire meant when he said "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." Now, those questions might seem quite challenging.

That's because what I'm going to ask you to do now is pause the video and go to the next page and read through a series of worksheets slides.

And that will contain all the information you need to be able to ask these questions.

Then once you've done that, I'll want you to ask the questions in full sentences.

Then come back to this video and we'll go through the answers.

So please, pause the video now, read the worksheet slides, answer the questions, then returned the video once you're complete.

And then, we'll check how well you did.


Welcome back.

Let's see how well you did in those questions.

So question one, which scientists inspired Voltaire's writings? So an acceptable answer would be Newton.

A good answer, which in a full sentence, And it's always a good idea to write a full sentence, because it develops your historical thinking better and gets you into good habits.

Could be, Voltaire's Writings were inspired by Newton because Newton had discovered new things through use of reason and experimentation.

Now, if you didn't write exactly what I wrote, don't worry, you may well have still got it right, So, look for common language.

And if it seems similar, give yourself a tick.

If you wrote something completely different, you might get to copy out my good answer.

So, you've got some really good notes.


Why is the period known as the 'Enlightenment'? An acceptable answer, because people thought of new ideas and became more knowledgeable.

A good answer in a couple of full sentences, the Enlightenment century or the 18th century is known as the Enlightenment because there was a growth of new ideas.

As a result, people were excited that human knowledge could be limitless if they asked the right questions.

Question three.

What is another name given to the Enlightenment? An acceptable answer, The Age of Reason.

A good answer in a full sentence, Enlightenment is also known as the Age of Reason.

Question Four.

How did Montesquieu try to improve on Locke's ideas about limiting the power of government? An acceptable answer, Montesquieu said government powers should be separated between different people.

Good answer in a full set of sentences, Montesquieu and Locke both thought government power should be limited.

Montesquieu thought that this could be achieved through a separation of powers.

By this, he meant that no one person in government can become too powerful because they will only be allowed to do one type of job at a time.

And question five.

A challenge question.

Well done if you've managed to do this.

So an acceptable answer could be, people should have free speech.

A good answer in a couple of full sentences, in the quote, Voltaire meant that people should be free to say what they wanted.

He thinks free speech is such an important right that when, that he would be willing to fight for it.

Furthermore, he would be willing to die for the right.

Even if he disagreed with what was said.


Really well done for what you've managed to write in those answers.

Now, if you want to add to any of your notes, that's absolutely fine.

You can pause the video, go backwards to add to your notes.

So, you've got some really nice answers.

But remember, you don't need to write exactly what I write.


The final thing I'd like you to consider is a bit of an even harder question that we're going to think through a bit together.

Why would Rousseau's ideas have seemed revolutionary? I mentioned that time, when we first looked at them, that they're seen as dangerous or extreme at the time.

But, why would that have been? Well, what want I want you to do is trying to answer that question.

I want you to think about what type of governments people lived under at the time.

If you remember, I said earlier that most people lived under Monarchies where the King or Queen had all the power.

So, why were Rousseau's ideas about democracy, about the people having a, being able to have a say the in laws had seemed revolutionary? So, why did it seem like that was a big change at the time? So, have a go at trying to answer that.

You might pause the video when you're doing it.

Once you, whilst you're doing it.

and then un-pause it when you're done.

Well done.

You've had really hard work to do today.

It has been impressive, the amount of brand new and exciting ideas that you've learned about.

We're going to then start looking next lesson about how these might influence society, and then let's knock out how they might have caused the American Revolution.

So, one more thing before you're finished today.

So, I want you to have a go at the end of lesson quiz, and then you're done.

So, well done for today.

I'll see you soon.