Why did some people in 18th century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?
Due to following reasons, some people in the 18th centurythought that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism
(i) Spreading of new ideas After the coming of print culture, the ideas of scientists and philosophers now
became more accessible to the common people. Ancient and medieval scientific texts were compiled
(ii) Books as medium of progress By the 18th century, books became a medium of spreading progress and enlightenment which could change society and the world. It was also believed that the books could liberate society from despotism and tyranny.
(iii) Writings of scholars The writings of thinkers such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine and Voltaire were also widely printed and could gain popularity. Thus, their ideas about science, rationality and reasoning found their way into popular literature.
(iv) Scientific discoveries Maps and more accurate scientific diagrams were widely printed when scientists like Isaac Newton began to publish their discoveries. They could influence a much wider circle of scientifically-minded readers.
(v) Ideas of enlightened thinkers Print popularised the ideas of the enlightened thinkers like Martin Luther who attacked the authority of the church and the despotic power of the state.
(vi) A new culture of dialogue and debate The printing press was believed to be the most powerful engine of progress and public opinion. Many historians have argued that print culture created the conditions for the end of despotism in France through the French Revolution.