The Enlightenment and the Age of Revolution

Ref: C2419200

Enlightenment ideas would inspire dramatic change in Britain, France and America in the eighteenth century. In Britain, advances in science and technology helped produce an industrial revolution and an industrial workforce. In America and France, political revolutions were based on Enlightenment ideas of democracy. The course examines these developments and some of the key figures involved, from Wedgwood to Watt, from Franklin to Rousseau. The course will include a guided walk or a visit.

Course aim

The course will examine Enlightenment ideas and their influence on the industrial revolution in Britain and on the political revolutions in America and France

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is for anyone with an enquiring mind and an interest in history

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify some of the main figures of the European Enlightenment
  • Explain the economic impact of Enlightenment ideas on Britain
  • Explain the political impact of Enlightenment ideas on France and America
  • Demonstrate the relevance of Enlightenment ideas for modern Britain
  • Demonstrate research into individual interests

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Note making materials

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full Course information sheet

The Enlightenment and the Age of Revolution


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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