"a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic"
Public Domain"Experiment on a Bird with an Air Pump" (1768) captures the spirit of the Enlightenment - Credit: Joseph Wright
Public Domain"Dare to know" was the motto of the Enlightenment - Credit: Francis Cotes

The mid seventeenth century marked the beginning of the European Enlightenment, a wide-ranging cultural and intellectual movement which emphasized rationality and reason over faith and tradition. It touched every area of life, from religion to politics, economics to social structures. The Enlightenment brought with it the scientific method and a lifting of restrictions imposed by the state and the church on education, personal liberty, free speech and trade. America too experienced its own Enlightenment, but this would not take place until the mid to late eighteenth century.