Women and the Era of Enlightenment

             After the chaotic years of the Middle Ages, the Reformation and of the Thirty Years’ War, humanity was brightened from the dark by a new era, called Enlightenment, one of the most important stages in the development of modern thought. This cultural, intellectual, philosophical and social movement spread through France, England, Germany, and other regions of Europe, even America, in the 1700s. Enabled by the Scientific Revolution, in the Enlightenment the spheres of education, politics and religion were now subject to investigation, in order to bring changes where possible. Knowledge, science and rational thought, such as freedom and universal justice, were the cornerstones of the mentality of the age, while religion and superstition were denied. This age is called, in fact, the Age of Reason, and embrace the notion that humanity could be improved through rational change. The American and French Revolutions were inspired by Enlightenment ideals of freedom and equality. ¹
             Thanks to the development of those ideas, women started gradually to change their role into society. Before that, from the Renaissance to the eighteenth-century , the representation of women was restrictive and oppressive, and they were expected to be subordinate to men in every way. Their role in society was primarily domestic and they were used only for the benefits of men. Wives should take care of the family and the house, do the cleanings and produce children just to carry on the family name; daughters should help the family thanks to an advantageous marriage. The behavior of women was a sort of indication of the reputation of their families, and for this reason sexuality was a subject related only to marriage. During the Protestant Reformation, the concept of patriarchy put men central in every kind of social structure, and from the middle of the sixteenth, tens of thousands of women were accused of witchcraft, and killed. Over 40,000-60,000 women were execu...

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Women and the Era of Enlightenment. (1969, December 31). In MegaEssays.com. Retrieved 21:23, January 22, 2017, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/300079.html