Ever since the beginning of time, religion has been the dominating source of reason. People have turned to prayer and spirituality for a sense of control and understanding in their lives. Not until the years of the age of reason was there an alternative proposed for a better method of interpreting things. This alternative method was science. Although scientific thought spread rapidly, religion was not forgotten.
Religion controlled many things science could not. It gave people a sense of why they are here and why things occur. This understanding results in sanity and calmness. During the age of reason, people who kept religion flourishing were Ethan Allen, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry.
In Thomas Paines The Crisis, No. 1, he uses vivid imagery and rhetorical techniques to persuade the audience into believing his point. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. (Paine). In Ethan Allens Reason only Oracle of Man, reason is taught through the eyes of an oracle, or someone whom God speaks to the people through. A religious revival that flourished around this point in history was called Deism.
Deism beliefs differed in many ways than the traditional religions for its major concept was that God spoke through everyone, not only a particular chosen one. Franklin, Paine, and Jefferson all participated as active Deists, abandoning their previous religion from which they were raised. A key aspect that attracted many people to Deism was that its goal was to achieve goodness and prosperity throughout the world. Although this way of thinking seemed to have no faults, there was the share of those who rejected this idea. As rationalism spread in the 1730 and 1740s, a strongly emotional brand of religion, known as the Great Awakening was flourishing. A rationalist point of view was also shared.
Reason was interpreted in different ways. As some turned to religion, others turned to a more practical source, which was science. In 1721, when the deadly outbreak of smallpox took place in Boston, Cotton Mather, a great puritan minister and historian, broke boundaries that had never been crossed before. He experimented with chemicals to try to find a cure of this deadly disease. When he finally succeeded, instead of being treated like a hero, he was looked down upon and excluded from the public.
The reason for his treatment was because anyone who turned to something other then religion as a source of information was socially unaccepted. Although he was not appreciated at the time, his work and efforts have forever changed the way we look at modern technology. Today, medical advancements and procedures can be greatly contributed to those who thrived in the age of reason. Another founding father of the scientific thought was Sir Isaac Newton.
He was determined to gain the knowledge of the laws of gravity and Stein 3therefore experimented with it. By using such simple tools as an apple tree, he was able to discover just why all things come up must come down. His discoveries made many thinkers suspicious of claims that those laws were ever suspended by God, Another person who marked his place in the age of reason was Benjamin Franklin. Brought up in a religion-dominated family, Franklin explored the field of science with various items. He eventually invented many useful things such as the open stove, bifocals, and the odometer.
He also discovered electricity with a kite in a lightning storm. As new scientific thought and religious beliefs spread throughout the world people looked for a sense of control and protection of their homes. Throughout most of these years, the American Revolution caused much chaos, but resulted in a well managed, controlled government. One of the most major political events of the age of reason was the drafting and writing of the declaration of independence. Founding fathers of the Declaration of Independence were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin. A famous quote taken from the document reads as follows:We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal.
(Franklin)The advancements made in the political movement of the age of reason are what give the basis and shape of our successful governments today. The age of reason also contributed a great literary works. Gaining more common sense, authors were able to use more abstract thinking in their writing and talk about truth rather then fantasy or fiction. Some of the great authors of this time include James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (the Federalist Papers), Franklin and Jeffersons Autobiographies, and Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur (Letters from an American farmer).
As literary works were at their peaks, poetry was on the duller, unoriginal side. It was often written in direct imitations of the British and had no thought or reason behind it. Great poetry would be soon to come in the age of romanticism. The age of reason brought on many changes to religious, political, scientific, and literary aspects of the eighteenth century.
With advancements, improvements and intelligence improving rapidly through everyone who lived at in that time, the age of reason was more of a turning point in the course of history then just a period of time.