During the 1700s in Paris, France fashionable and wealthy ladies would host social gatherings called salons. Salons were social able dinner parties in which Parisian women would host discussions about the issues and new ideas surrounding the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was sometimes called the Age of Reason. It was a period of optimism and possibility when many thinkers began to believe that human reason could solve all human problems. Ladies would host dinner parties and discussions with the leading scientists, philosophers, writers and intellectuals. Educated people would gather in homes and coffeehouses to debate the new ideas.
Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin
This is not a mandatory project but is available for a group. The group will demonstrate a 18th century salon as a skit/drama. Each group member must take a role in the salon.
Some group members will serve as the hostesses. They will be responsible for asking their guests informed and knowledgeable questions about Enlightenment thinkers and ideas. Each group can sketch out and prepare a drama based around Enlightenment ideas and thinkers. The salon resemble as closely as possible a historical salon in the 18th century.
Other group members should play Enlightenment thinkers, philosophers and scientists. In presenting your role you should demonstrate knowledge of your historical person. Know: Life and background, important events in his life and historical events during his life, did he take part in historical events, major influences on him, and his/her major ideas.
People to portray & include: (Those in bold are the most important, Portray at least 3 of the thinkers in bold; depending on the size of the group)
John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Francios Quesnay, Guillaume-Thomas Raynal, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, François-Marie Arouet Voltaire, Jean Le Rond Alembert, Cesare Beccaria, Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat Condorcet, Denis Diderot, Edward Gibbon, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Sir Isaac Newton, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, René Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, Olympe de Gouges, Thomas Hobbes, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Adam Smith.
Be familiar and use the following terms: Salons, enlightenment,philosophies, social contract, enlightened despots, divine rights, Individualism, relativism, Rationalism, Romanticism, scientific Revolution, Skepticism.
Each group will present a salon as it may have happened in Paris in the 18th century. (1700s) Your salon may take place in a coffeehouse or a private home. The dialogue and questions should reflect the times and the content of the Enlightenment. It would be a good idea for each group to put together a script.
Each group will present a one page summary of each thinker within their group. A small paragraph that summarizes each person represented in their group. This will be presented in handout form and distributed to the rest of the class. It can be presented in a brochure or program form.
If done well this project will award each group member 300 points.
Attention: Extra Points will be added for period dress and costume if ALL group members are in period costume.
Project description & worksheet aids are linked below.