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tv   Lectures in History  CSPAN  December 19, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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>> you are watching american history tv. 48 programming hours every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter at c-span history for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. week on lectures in history, the louisiana state university repressor entered her stein speaksew bur on the enlightenment era. to show how these endeavors were in line with the humanist ideals of the time. he also argues that the great awakening, a religious movement of the 1740's, was in conflict with the emphasis on scientific thinking. this class was about an hour. right, welcome to another
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exciting adventure in the united states history. , as anve said before important part of this survey course, exploration of the ideas that came to define the american identity. we try to see our history in new and novel ways. to push up against the boundaries and think critically. , to laugh at professors jokes. lsu is not a mickey mouse university, but let's suppose for a moment there is a mickey mouse university. mouse and professor student mice, and at mickey mouse university the class looks up, looks to the door and sees a ravenous pack looking right at
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him, hungry. the mouse, mickey mouse professor, yells out, oh, and the cat hightailed it and immediately runs away. one of the relieved students speaks to the professor and says, what was that, professor? and the professor says that, my friends, is why it is good to learn a second language. [laughter] language. language and wit. that is one of today's key themes. we are all affected by the meaning we attached to words. language, we figure, is the most logical part of the word. sit init that we athletics at an
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conference. why do we build a building if it is already else? why is there no good definition for as the sarris -- thesa urus? why is palindromic not spelled the same backwards and forwards. language and wit. science tells us that we are the remains of stars, inorganic material that is somehow combined to produce light. we don't know what to call god. we don't have the language, we don't have the uniform language for everything that concerns or confuses us. that is kind of what the 18th-century enlightenment is all about. check this out.
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this is -- [laughter] thank you. this is by one of the greatest new yorker artists. you just witnessed the combination of imagination, where imaginative wit, and reason and judgment. that is how you got the joke. wit and judgment -- judgment are both with the association of ideas. you are now able to understand the philosophy of john locke. john locke was one of the most
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influential philosophers in history. he was well-known to the founding generation of the united states, the american revolutionaries. matter that he was trained as a physician? well, he and many of the enlightened philosophes were initially physicians before they entered into writing philosophy. century, whenth locke was writing. advanced studies of anatomy and physiology became the scientific understandings of the human body , especially focusing on the brain and the nervous system. and they rejected, for the first
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time, the philosophy that had been passed down from the ancient, from the greek and roman world. what was still practiced by physicians in the 18th century, bloodletting among but although they also talked about the nerve. convulsion.nd body politics became something more than a metaphor. the mechanisms of the body relate to mechanisms of government. the nerves coursing through the are more us who we than some godly touch or godly inheritance. locke lookss like to the senses, the brain. something they called nervous fluid. hereare late answers -- lay answers about human social
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organization. the language of medicine. authors --an philosophers reduce the importance of the humors and replace that ancient vocabulary with a new nerve-based vocabulary. for them, everything critical was organized in the head. empirical knowledge, reason and the senses, experiment and judgment. of magict rejection and superstition. that is where suspicion of organized religion came in. m came in.ere deis to give you the simplest
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definition, it was the idea that god created a self-sustaining universe. created the earth and was no longer directly involved in managing it. locke, in his essay concerning the human understanding, the best known of his works among the american founding generation, he tells us no knowledge is in eight. we are born like a blank slate. into our minds through the senses as impressions. perception is one source of our ideas. another is reflection, driving satisfaction from thoughts. .
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this makes him something of a psychologist as well because he is examining human passions along with a medicalized vocabulary. how locke influenced all at six -- politics. rightputed the divine to rule over citizens arbitrarily. he explained human beings possessed free will and should learn to appreciate liberty, to obey superiors out of conviction and not out of fear. he went so far as to write that excess tyranny justified revolution. year,as published in same
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1590 in which he advocated -- a man ahead of his time, a system of government and legislature that owed their office to an implicit contract with the people. now you can see, knowing what , locke wouldnow have been influential among those looking to create a . public locke was a cautious believer. in his time, to be branded an atheist was a very dangerous thing. cautious whener it came to criticizing religious belief.
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beyond our senses, he wrote, we cannot be certain of anything, except a thought whose rational purpose was evident in the harmony and order of nature. beyond our senses, ok, our senses. that is where impressions form ideas. where we read for understanding. nature.and order of locke only worked through the laws of nature, not independent of the laws of nature. this is the critique of magic superstition. privileging science over the supernatural.
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religious dogma, religious toleration, religious freedom. we moved to david hume. influential after , a significant70 year in our history. in the natural history of 1757,on, published in david hume, one of the scottish faith ases, noted irrational. he wondered how sublime works of history could make so many bizarre beliefs about god. natural religion. that is the vocabulary hume introduced.
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, thatea, going from locke god is the equivalent of the laws of nature. revealeding that for religion, which as we discussed last class with regards to puritans. religion focused on god .ctively saving the souls this is what enlightened philosophes are rejecting. two other scottish philosophes worth mentioning, because they were influential in shaping the minds and outlooks of the american founders, adam smith and lord kames. the theory of moral sentiments, quoted.d in 1759
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1776 he published the wealth of nations about political economy. it was the theory of moral sentiments that shaped the moral direction of the american , to the extent that it was right by the elites who wrote the documents that we take pride in today as the founding documents of the nation. lord keynes published thousands of criticism and 1862. that is the work he is most famous for and his time -- in his time. what these men said, as you can , in is that we recognize
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human behavior, the operation of the principle of benevolence as well as that of selfishness. it is natural to have selfish feelings, but it is just as natural to have feelings of the most exquisite sensibility. fellow feeling, adam smith calls it. this is the idea that we are endowed with a moral sense. that we do not have to be taught morality that is built-in when we are born. this is something from a departure -- of a departure from locks language. the scottish. philosophes, all adored smith
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and kames. they gave the central place to conscience. of a morality separate from .eligion that's it the idea of a republic founded on moral principles and operating on the human spirit. we are talking about the evolution of the americas collective sense of identity. enlightened thinkers were those that aggregated to themselves
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special knowledge. for them, their critique, the intensity of emotion in the pretender -- breach or the prophet had nothing to do with the discovery of subjective truth. he who declares that he is speaking of a knowledge of god is really only talking about himself and revealing his own interstate. they asked, what god would enlighten some individuals and leave the rest in moral darkness? a critique of the puritan theology. so, for the enlightenment , it was enough to say god permeates the world. happy to stop let's emphasize what we have done up to now and then we will move to the american scene,
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directly. 18th-century enlightenment humanists includes -- accused religion of being oppressive, hindering intellectual progress, reducing the chance of achieving a just social and political order through the kind of hierarchy that organized religion presented. a superstition, or primitive , as religiousc skeptics, they do not see themselves as atheists. present -- ere has religion represented a definition of humanism and they upheld religions moral value.
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humanism, let's get to the core of this. every culture arrives at a different consensus when it comes to the meaning of what it is to be human. cultures, the relation of man and one to god is paramount. royal, landed elite as a protected class. and then there are the beyond to labor for these elites. they are co-opted into believing the superiority of their social betters, even the divine care
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for -- character of the monarch. just ask the emperors and the pharaohs and the slaves who built their giant tombs. there are open and secular societies and closed secular societies. are open religious societies, and closed religious societies. i guess i'm saying no one is safe. arguably, our technology has not .reed us even now, we can ask how advanced are our systems are -- of belief. more advanced are we than the generations preceding ours? to questions of science, religion, ethical progress, we are still confused.
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that is another reason why history matters, and why it matters that took place in the middle of the 18th century. the man,influenced largely men, who produced the documents by which our political lives are organized. what is freedom? language matters. do we have a good definition of freedom? freedom is not absolute. we have laws. freedom has no clear, fixed definition that everyone agrees on. we talk about individual lemon -- individualism in this country, but nothing is more human than to exist concurrently under delusions of grandeur and delusions of subordination.
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.e talk about equality that is one of the go to words in the language of american national identity. societyin fact that no has ever existed that is equality.lly based on we have our ideals and then we have our reality. we are still engaged in the debates that the american founding generation was engaged in. be reading as much philosophy as they did, but we are still talking that language. humanism. humanism is not, don't get me wrong, it is not the antithesis of religion. all you have to do is think of pope francis, or the dalai lama, and what they have contributed to the world. through their lives of
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commitment to humanity, collectively. , is not a secular worldview necessarily, but it is a distinctive worldview and it goes back to ancient greece and rome, and those philosophers. the onessophers that in the 18th century read and adored. humanism concerns self cultivation. adoration of what science can and aesthetic outlook and appreciation for the intrinsic power of grand nature. that god can exist in nature, and not need ministers to interpret god for those who are study, test
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propositions, and seeks truth. we do not want to render our will to someone else who is going to tell us where we can find knowledge. these are the values of the foundersment that our were interested in discovering and debating. humanism is bolstered by a government which enacts sympathetic policies and cares about the lives of its citizens. now, you see, why humanism is important. when we talk about humanism, we are talking about the values that created america. whether or not we see them, we feel them in our everyday. these are values that we declared to be consistent with
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the american self-image. language. when you go to a university and you see a department, it is called humanities. that is where this come from sprint humanism, the humanities. the development of the modern university. it is all tied together. inanism makes a moral claim the favor of tolerance. humanism of course reached its pinnacle in the 24th century jean-luc leadership of picard, captain of the starship enterprise. this is to see if you're still paying attention. he do not have to put that in your notes. humanists contemplate human destiny. so do a lot of other people. the difference is for humanists,
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the emphasis is on the meaning of our collective life on earth. the human spirit is something to be marveled at. studied seriously for its own sake. that is why the declaration of independence, why the american revolution was couched in the language of pursuing our collective pursuit of happiness. we are getting there. as a moral community, emphasis on community, the pursuit of happiness is an individual value but also a community value. that is part of the humanist regime. opposition toin the forces of tyranny that would ostensibly enslave the mind. that now is quintessentially jeffersonian thinking.
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that is enlightenment humanism. where is this heading? we know this guy. for benjamin franklin -- i can do without those. for benjamin franklin, a humanist, a self-made man, the first american to be considered .ngenious by the europeans who contributed to world culture, who made the americans more than subservient colonials, that benjamin franklin, born at the beginning of the 18th ,entury and lived 84 years
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franklin never attended college, but he read incessantly. of 20, just 20 years old, your age, he knew locke's theory of sensation, to question the immortality of the soul. , but hisp in boston own sense of his duality, and his desire for scientific , made him self-taught a humanist. puritanism's suspicion of the individual will, franklin rejected from an early age. for him, as the enlightened humanist in england and the
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continent, religious belief smacked of magic, superstition, and miracles. he totally rejected that in favor of science and experiment. the search for empirical evidence. though it makes an important history, aside from anything else you might have done that he might have done -- anything else he might have done, is he gave europe an inkling of the potential that colonial americans had to produce intellectuals. to contribute meaningfully to world culture and scientific progress. know, as we all know something about historical benjamin franklin, to get his message across, the humanist message across, he applied humor.
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that is how he carried the day. that is why he is remembered. 16 wasklin at the age of a servant in effect, an apprentice to his older brother james read a newspaper, a controversy all newspaper called the new england current. he'd want to just be sweeping the floors. he had a belief in himself that he would make something of himself. he would slip and under the door of the newspaper's office. written by one silence do good.
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the letters were published in his brother's newspaper and his younger brother was the author. silence do good is interesting because franklin adopts a female persona. he is placed on the printed page. part of his success. put describes herself as a widow with three children.
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she had come over from england. franklin invented this whole legend for her. her father died on the way. so she had a hard life. but minister allowed her to use his library. she became something of a pop philosopher. she was banned. without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom. there humanist message is in the 16-year-olds writings.
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nexen his career he dumped another pseudonym. that of richard saunders. bit by bit he became a successful printer. just create the
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pennsylvania gazette. he moved panelists to philadelphia -- penniless to philadelphia. he explains the struggle that he undertook in order to become a successful printer. agenda to our humanist we look at poor richard's almanac. almanacs were popular. they claimed to predict the weather. season by season of the year ahead. they gave the phases of the moon . farmers needed this information. space in which people who didn't have a lot of paper to keep a
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.iary franklin did something very new. almanac into the simple of voice. a character. for richard.
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this is why benjamin franklin became a millionaire, america's first.
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i was able to retire to a gentleman's life, performing scientific experiments, when he was only 40 years old. with apologies to david letterman, i have a top 10 list. my 10 favorite poor richard axioms. doctors were notoriously bad back then. his humor is often laced with a
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moral message. a socially responsible message. this was before credit cards existed. there is some universal wisdom in this. humorousn't find this way till number three. many amongerent from
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the elites in colonial america because he did not believe the seven-year-old should study greek and latin necessarily. he suggested that we learn modern languages so that we can communicate with living people. this was one of his innovative ideas. got a rise out of you finally.
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i have to be a professor part of the time. now we have a much better sense of who poor richard was and who ben franklin months. was. manklin as the organization . he brought to bear his ideas to improve the community. this was not without self-interest. out in 1727 by establishing the junto. a young men's improvement club.
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these were about improving the community. young men who were not born to wealth but who believed that it was possible to align yourself and study and get ahead in this life. only 23 years old, he founds the pennsylvania gazette. you said was the library company of pennsylvania. it is a major research facility it was founded as the first public lending
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also, because buildings were built with wood and they did not have electric lights. buildings caught fire all the time. organizing impunity of volunteers to establish effective fighting forces. the same year the thomas jefferson was born, 1743, benjamin franklin founded the american philosophical society the jefferson as vice president of the united states would be president of. it was a clearinghouse for discoveries and ideas and
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science and political philosophy they would write an extension of what the junto was on a very it became alevel clearinghouse for the important ideas that are being discussed whoss colonial boundaries were the intellectuals the day became members and were voted as it shows the progressive werit of benjamin franklin must recognize that benjamin franklin was a man of his time. so when it comes to theories of , he is anthnicity
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18th-century man with 18th-century ideas. we don't like them. he believes that africans were properly suited for servant like because he thought they had a natural inferiority. why did he think that? in his mind africa had not produced art and literature. .laves in america
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we should not be surprised that with few qualms he printed capture, a slave owner would print ads in the offering aa gazette reward for the return of the runaway slave whose physically described in the advertisement. franklin can do this without evidencing any sympathy for slaves. he also had considerable interaction with the indians in western pennsylvania. he was a diplomat on the pennsylvania frontier before you became a diplomat for the american colonies in england. he listened intently to the called for a logic of the indians he dealt with. he looked upon them with a humane curiosity.
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he did not expect them to become civilized. he did not expect them to gravitate toward european-style civilizations. and like many mainstream thinkers of the 18 and 19 centuries, he believed that they would probably go extinct because they could not adapt to modern civilization. here's a really good example of how that 18th-century is when it comes to non-english white people in pennsylvania. benjamin franklin did not like the germans. he saw them is a difficult immigrant group. because they printed their own newspaper in their own languages and they did not want to learn english. they did not assimilate readily. they didn't anglicized.
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it was that called for pride among the germans that he couldn't stomach. you've probably never seen a $100 bill. there is science and then there is religion. take your pick. eclipse or the devil hovered over the church. now to the reaction to the enlightenment and that is the burst of enthusiasm in colonial american history that goes by the name of the great awakening.
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it is heralded by most historians as an extended moment roughly late 1730's to the .750's a popular movement that was religious more than political. to suggesticient further across colonial cooperation at a time when the mother country and the colonies were having arguments. one historian has noted that the puritan patriarch john winthrop founded a community of the spirit and his grandchildren invested in connecticut real estate. this sums up the complaint of the moment by 1740.
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, he was aspirations philanthropic lee inspired individual because his inventions like the franklin stove or his experiments and electricity, he did not try to capitalize on them. instead of taking a patent, he gave them to society at large the betterment of humanity. he did become a millionaire. across the colonies who at this 1740's, some ministers
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noted that spiritual piety almost didn't exist anymore and that in awakening was necessary. and god had to come back into people's lives. so the great awakening was a more or less spontaneous thement counteracting worship. reaction against the scientific rationalization of the enlightenment. the great awakening if it had a slogan it was god hovers over you. itinerant preachers and the image years of the reverend george whitfield who may have been the best known and the most popular came over from england
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at the end of the 1730's. he worked his way up from georgia to pennsylvania to new england. giving these barn burning and mesmerizing sermons. sometimes whitfield was invited as local churches. sometimes the local minister was suspicious of him. the more sedate and sober ministers did not like this kind of rabble rousing. if a minister refused to allow whitfield to preach, he preached outdoors. god andonalization of his everyday presence in life. he was in the business of saving
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souls. the conflict that arose at this time was between those who worried about how their polite congregations being disturbed by .his excess of passion the new lights were the dissenting sects. just gaining followers at this time. the older ones tended to be the congregationalists of new england. successors to the puritans. aside from this enthusiasm of this great awakening, one of the
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interesting up shots was the establishment of denominational colleges. you have presbyterians founding the college of new jersey which is known today as princeton university. in providence rhode island founded brown university. the great awakening was not just a blip on the screen. many schools of thought contended as a result of this movement. not changening did secular humanism as a model of behavior in late colonial america. it did provide thoroughgoing
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competition to that model. most of those we think of as the founding fathers were known as deists. they stood in opposition to the enthusiasm of the evangelicals. the definition that i gave at deistsinning, these considered god is the watchmaker god who started the mechanism in motion and then rested" the views tickets course. god who could best be explained through the laws of nature. if you could be scientifically proven to exist then he didn't exist.
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secular humanism remained thertant and yet , they were groups respected by the secular humanists because they stood in the way of the established church. in massachusetts the congregationalists church. revolution fully one third of virginians belong to the baptist church. close to two thirds belonging to but thatcan church in
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does show a change underway. it ran counter to the ecstatic message of george whitfield. they insisted that the power of god was in nature and only in awe-inspiring only in the way that nature was awe-inspiring he had no desire to exercise power over humankind. were to be involved in the world in any direct way. nature not lay in over humankind.
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where we going with this? how widely is enlightenment thinking expressed today? for ansts search evolutionary explanation for why believe in god exists a white people believe it a fair number of the scientists are people of faith applying reason to the issue. some gravitate toward a biological explanation. that the brain's architecture evolved so that it would help us to survive as a species amid hardships and loss of loved ones. 18th-century the jury is out.
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six out of 10 americans today believe that hell exists. seven out of 10 believe in angels. about half of you believe in 1% believe it's possible that bigfoot exists in nature. in 2002azine cnn poll found that 25% of americans believe that the terrorist attack of 9/11 was predicted in the bible. 25%. that goes to something about human psychology. probably not part of this course. irlass,tuesday's want you to suit up for the french and indian war.
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and here's your moment of zen. you are free to go.
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