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Eighteenth Century

The 18th Century (1701-1800) was the Age of the Enlightenment. During the 18th century, the world largely moved into the modern era, partly due to the Scientific Revolution, and partly due to the political revolutions in America and France. Philosophy stressed natural science and reason while political reality stressed the absolutism of Louis XIV, all of which culminated in the Reign of Terror.

The eighteenth century opened with the establishment of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 and the merge of England and Scotland into the United Kingdom in 1707. The War of Spanish Succession occupied much of the European continent from 1706 to 1713, followed shortly after by the death of Louis XIV of France, the fabled Sun King. Eighteenth CenturyThe 18th century was also the fading age of piracy, evidenced by the death of Blackbeard (Edward Teach) off the North Carolina coast in 1718.

The 18th century was the Enlightenment. Hume, Bentham, Rousseau and Diderot made major contributions to philosophy. Johann Sebastian Bach was the leading musician of the age, while Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe and Jane Austen wrote landmark novels. Peter the Great and Catherine the Great ruled Russia, while Frederick the Great ruled in Prussia. In America, the Founding Fathers, men such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington, took the leading notions of the Enlightenment and created the United States.

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