The Intellectual Revolution, which included the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, had the greatest impact on Western Civilization because of the ideas from the Intellectual Revolution that triggered the other two important events…
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In short, without the ideas that came from the Intellectual Revolution, there would be not much change in Europe and America, and revolutions for independence and efforts for the development of commerce and industry would not have been possible. The Intellectual Revolution was actually brought about by a deluge of scientific ideas that created an impact “on the way people live and think” and thus changed their “view of the nature of reality” (“Chapter 23”). Because of the scientific ideas brought about by the scientists of the Enlightenment like Newton, Copernicus and Pascal, “it [was] no longer possible to maintain that the sun [revolved] about a motionless earth, or that there [were] four terrestrial elements: earth, air, fire, and water” (“Chapter 23”). This implies that with the advent of the Scientific Revolution, people started assessing the validity of their beliefs through reason and stopped believing in superstitions. Moreover, perhaps the most important change was that people began to think and perhaps sought out the reasons for their own existence. Discoveries in the field of science like astronomy somehow also paved the way for people to make “exact [observations and to refuse] to accept any conclusion that did not square with all the observed data” (“Chapter 23”). ...
This must have eventually led groups of people to evaluate their existence and position vis-a-vis a power hungry monarchy like that of France during the 18th century. Such revolutionary change in the way people thought would have indirectly led to the recognition of their rights as human beings by virtue of reason and thus eventually brought the French Revolution. The Intellectual Revolution also brought with it a new philosophy that perhaps awakened man’s sense of self. The political philosophy of John Locke, which was adopted by the constitutional monarchy of England, spread around Europe around this time and made those governed by absolute monarchy to rethink their positions and to consider the idea of having not an absolute king but three separate branches of government – executive, legislative and judiciary (“The Philosophies”). Moreover, the philosophy of Voltaire taught the people that “man’s desire to pursue one’s happiness [is] inborn” (“The Philosophies”). Another philosopher, Montesquieu emphasized the legal system of each nation, and a great philosopher in the name of Jean Jacques Rosseau theorized that “the society in the state of nature [is] the society with no class-distinctions” (“The Philosophies”). This paralleled the Intellectual Revolution in America with Thomas Paine proclaiming the rights of man and the first 13 states finally declaring independence from the British. All this philosophy perhaps awakened in man a recognition of his innate right to freedom and, naturally, a desire to attain it at any cost. The philosophical aspect of the Intellectual Revolution thus helped to trigger the occurrence not only of the French Revolution but
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