The lighting is perhaps the most important event in the 18th century. There came ever more attention to people who otherwise thought than most people. Previously, people who otherwise thought usually persecuted by those in power. In the epoch of wigs and revolutions was this use slowly turned around. There were a lot of critical thinkers who hate had to absolutism. They found that the power is not in the hands of just one person. Because this usually leads to abuse of power.
The ideas of these critical thinkers were in cafes, coffee houses and salons. Often, the philosophers there with the visitors talk. These ideas also appeared often in letters, novels and plays. The public grew as a result. There were more and more people who took these ideas.
Important philosophers in the history were among other things Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu. Rousseau has been involved in a very important project from the lighting. He suggested along with other 18th century French philosophers the first encyclopedia together. For the first time there was a reference book in which information was not provided by the Church was written down. The French Government forbids the encyclopedia and let him burn in 1759.
The philosophers in this epoch they were hoping that with this encyclopedia people could think. They wanted everyone to reason. The reason is another word for logical thinking. The Church and the Government had the power because they the people stupid. They told for example that they were chosen by God to rule. Philosophers like Voltaire being this as nonsense. He, and the other great philosophers of his time believed that man could solve many problems by its sense. By carefully think you'd of war, disease and abuse of power can understand and prevent or combat.
They also believed that all men were free and equal. They found that you could not judge a man on sex, ethnicity or skin color. This sounds very logical, but before the Enlightenment, there was no one who had dared to express these thoughts out loud. In the history it was expressing your opinion often punished. Some philosophers, including Voltaire, came several times in prison because they spread these ideas.
The ideas of the philosophers also reached the Netherlands. Also in the Netherlands had one of absolutism. The stadtholders had absolute power and abused this. Also there were many people who felt there had to be more equality. They found that Jews, Protestants and Catholics had to have all the same rights. Also, they wanted more freedom of expression. From 1781 did these people together and called themselves the Patriots. They began to press the lighting ideas magazines. William V felt threatened. This was only going to get worse when some Patriots also wanted to fight for their freedom. In 1787 they fought to Utrecht and Amsterdam. The Patriots got Amsterdam in hands. France shot to help the Patriots and William V fled to England.