The years between 1600 and 1750 were full of contradiction, change, and conflict in Europe. The future would be shaped by the far reaching consequences of war. These conflicts pitted mainly the northern countries (Belgium, Germany, England, Sweden) against the Catholic kingdoms of the south (France, Spain, Austria), and further accentuated the pre-existing cultural differences between Northern and Southern Europe. However, tremendous scientific, philosophical, and artistic accomplishments that constitute the practical foundation of modern civilization flourished side by side with continual warfare, political instability, and religious fervor, bordering on fanaticism. Some of the most significant events of this period are:
•The Scientific Revolution: A scientific method of inquiry and the separation of science and philosophy from religious dogma were established. Science and mathematics influencenearly every aspect of life.
•The Protestant Reformation: Protestantism was formed and influenced political, economic, social, and cultural structures. Protestants rejectedthe use of visual art and emotionally charged music in the church.
•The Catholic Counter-Reformation: In response to the Reformation, an outpouring of exuberant sculpture, architecture, painting, and music to promulgate and support the power and doctrine of the Papacy in Rome and the Catholic Church was created. The Jesuit order led the Counter-Reformation campaign.
•The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648): The Holy Roman Empire, headed spiritually by the Pope and temporarily by the Emperor, was dissolved, essentially establishing modern Europe as a community of sovereign states.
•Colonization: Large areas of the Americas ...
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...Galileo, Kepler and many other giants of science, and laid the groundwork for classical mechanics—the laws of gravitation and motion—in his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687). René Descartes 1596-1650), Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716), and Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) advocated the separation of philosophy and science from religious dogma; Francis Bacon (1561-1626), John Locke (1632-1704), and David Hume (1711-1776) in England established the foundation of the scientific system of observation, experimentation, and testing of hypotheses. Montesquieu (1689-1755) proposed the theory of the separation of powers, while Voltaire—pen name of Francoise-Marie Arouet (1694-1778) and great admirer of Newton—through his satirical writings and plays criticized Church dogma and championed civil liberties, including freedom of religion.
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