Electronic Enlightenment Resources


"The fewer dogmas, the fewer disputes; the fewer disputes, the fewer miseries: if this is not true, then I'm wrong"

Philosophical Dictionary of Voltaire:

This excellent site provides excellent primary source writings of Voltaire on a variety of topics.

A Brief Biography about Voltaire:

This page is part of the Lucidcafe website that offers information on a variety of thinkers. It also has links to Enlightened thinkers for this project.

A Brief Overview of Voltaire:
This site contains one of Voltaire's writings, "A Treatise on Toleration" At the end of this essay the author has defined some of the more difficult/unusual words. This makes the document much more user friendly


"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave then they."

A Brief Biography about Rousseau:
This page is part of Lucidcafe's website, which lots of good information about a variety of people and topics. It also has great links to many literary and primary document sources.

A Treasury of Resources by and about Rousseau:
This excellent site has links for Rousseau's writings, books about him, and organizations dedicated to his philosophy.

"Rousseau was an all-around brilliant guy."

This page is also by one of those really brilliant guys, a university professor, yet is quite readable and user friendly. This site has links for other topics such as Women in the Enlightenment.



"I think, therefore I am."

A Brief Biography about Descartes:
This page is part of the terrific Lucidcafe website. This site invites e-mail from its users and also has links for Galileo and Newton. This site also has a link to connect you to E-texts and other resource materials.

Background and Biographical information on Descartes:


This page is part of Richard Hooker's extensive research on people and events of the Enlightenment Era.

"Republics end with luxury; monarchies (end) with poverty."

Spirit of the Laws Document:
This page is part of The Modern History Sourcebook and gives a readable translation of the original document.

A Timeline of Montesquieu's life:

This timeline is very readable. Significant events are listed and described briefly. Also includes a brief bibliography.

Biography of Montesquieu:


This page is from the Catholic Encyclopedia site and provides a very thorough biography of Montesquieu. Readability seems to be at a fairly sophisticated level, but the information is quite useful.  


"Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own intelligence."

Biographical information on Kant:

This site provides an excellent biography, though the readability is a bit sophisticated. This site has links to several other topics and a timeline of Kant's writings.

Links for information by and about Kant:

This site was recently updated (July 2000) and provides an extensive list of links to other sites about Kant.

Biographical information on Kant:

This site provides information that is more use friendly and readable. There are also links to other sites that contain writings by and about Kant. This is a page from Bjorn's Guide to Philosophy.


"Blame for bad conditions' and almost everything else that went wrong in France - is due to superstition and idle nobility."

Biographical Information on Diderot:
This encyclopedic source provides a very thorough information on Diderot's life.

More biographical Information on Diderot's life:

This is a page from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The readability of this article seems more user friendly than the Britannica article.

Information on the Encylopedie (Writings of Diderot)

This site has several links to information about Diderot's most famous piece of writing.

Women in the Enlightenment:

Overview Information about Women during the Age of Enlightenment:
This page gives great information about what life was like for women during this time. This is a page from Washington University's award winning site on World Civilizations. This is an outstanding resource for many topics.

Madame de Pompadour:


A long time friend and lover of the Sun King.  She had an influence on the king's patronage of the arts. Interesting pictures and links for other personalities who may have influenced royalty during the Enlightenment.

Madame Geoffrin:

This site provides extensive information about a fairly influential woman of the Enlightenment Era. You can also learn some about Salon politics in this article.


This is a page from The Modern History Sourcebook. It provides excellent information about Madame Geoffrin and the art of Salon entertaining. The readability is moderate.

Age of Enlightenment:

What was Europe like before the Enlightenment? What events that ushered in the Enlightenment?:

    Part of Richard Hooker's scholarly site about the Enlightenment. Provides a good overview of Pre-Enlightenment Europe. Also includes interesting pictures of some of the monarchs from the Age of Absolutism.

What was the Age of Enlightenment? What are some of the Enlightenment ideas?

 What and who were the Philosophes? What role did they play in the Enlightenment?

    Part of Richard Hooker's site, this page gives great background information about the philosophes. It also has links for Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu.

    Madame Geoffrin's Salon

***The pictures contained in this lesson are credited to the first electronic site listed below the picture. ***