Unit 12 - Age of Revolutions

  • Review Unit #12 : Age of Revolutions


    • Scientific Method: a process used to answer scientific questions, it helped bring into question the common acceptance that God caused everything to happen
    • Copernicus and Galileo: proved the Sun was the center of the Solar System (Heliocentric Theory); this proved that the church could be wrong about something (the Church had said the Earth was the center)
    • Heliocentric Theory: “sun-centered” theory; it raised the question, “If the Church could be wrong about this, could it be wrong about other issues?” (such as divine right)


    A time when people were enlightened (exposed) to new ideas and ways of thinking, especially about politics

    Age of Reason: people used reason to guide them in their decisions  (this comes from the scientific approach to learning)

    Enlightenment thinkers

    • John Locke:          
      • all people have certain rights
      • governments should protect people’s rights
      • if the government does not—people can overthrow the government

     Other Enlightenment thinkers: 

    • Jean Jacques Rousseau: 1.There is a social contract between people and govt. 2.  the majority should rule
    • Barron de Montesquieu: there should be a separation of powers –executive, judicial, legislative
    • Voltaire:  wrote plays and stories that poked fun of nobility and absolute government

    Their influence: the ideas expressed by Enlightenment thinkers got people to consider changing their governments (from Monarchies to Republics)


    Political Revolutions: when people began to change their kind of government (from Monarchies to Republics)

    American Revolution

    • American colonies broke away from Great Britain
    • They followed John Locke’s ideas  (Britain was not protecting the colonists’ rights)
    • first time a modern nation ended a monarchy and started a Republic (became an example to people in other monarchies)

    French Revolution

    • poor peasants were tired of the King (Louis XVI) taxing them and not taxing the rich nobles
    • they revolted and executed many nobles (reign of terror)—including King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette
    • overthrowing (and executing) a King was a big step in Europe—it motivated other people to think about doing it
    • the new government was weak and was later taken over by Napoleon Bonaparte

    Latin American Revolutions

    • Latin Americans were tired of being controlled by the Spanish, Portuguese, and French (mostly the Spanish)
    • they were inspired by the success of the American and French Revolutions
    • their revolutions were led by Simon Bolivar, Toussaint L’Overture, and Jose de San Martin