Q. 14.4( 23 Votes )
Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?
There was a general conviction among the people in the 18th century that books were a means of spreading progress and enlightenment. And because of print books became affordable for masses. This helped in spreading revolutionary ideas to a vast section of society in a more efficient way. Many believed that books could change the world, liberate society from despotism and tyranny and herald a time when reason and intellect would rule.
(i) Many contemporary thinkers, like Martin Luther and Monochhio could fire people’s imagination because of help from print technology.
(ii) Print popularized the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers. Collectively, their writings provided a critical commentary on tradition, superstition and despotism. They argued for the rule of reason rather than custom and demanded that everything be judged through the application of reason and rationality.
(iii) Printed created a new culture of dialogue and debate. All values, norms and institutions were re-valuated and discussed by a public that had become aware of power of reason and recognized the need to question existing ideas and beliefs. Within this public culture, new ideas of social revolution came into being.
(iv) By the 1780s there was an outpouring of literature that mocked the royalty and criticized their morality. Question began to be raised about the existing social order.
(v) Even for scientists it became easier to share knowledge and spread knowledge.
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