American History: Enlightenment and 18th Century
Class # 28437
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Dates: 9/23/21 - 11/18/21
Instructor: Chester Caskey
Notes: Spokane Community College
1810 N Greene Street, Spokane, WA 99217
Historians differ as to what date marked the European Enlightenment, the dawn of the Modern Era and the Scientific Revolution, many suggesting 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia as the starting point. However, in our country we know exactly when the American Enlightenment started. It began without question on a day in 1714 when Yale scholar Samuel Johnson opened up several cases of books from a private library estate sale sent to the college by its agent in London. Inside were many dozens of books by writers such as Francis Bacon, John Locke, Isaac Newton and Copernicus, as well as literary works by Shakespeare, Milton, and Addison. Johnson later wrote that the books were like a sudden flood of sunshine into the closed-minded Puritan-dominated society of New England. Within four years, colleges across America had revamped their former theological-based curricula to broad-based studies in mathematics, history, literature, physics, geography, as well as the new science of politics and the intellectual excitement of the New Learning would carry America through the 18th Century and on to the 21st as the U.S. continues to sort out the implications of Modern as opposed to pre-Enlightenment thinking. Join us in class as we look into those cases of books and see just what Master Johnson was so excited about.