De Maupertuis The degree measurements by de Maupertuis in the Tornionlaakso Valley 1736-1737
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 The Enlightenment
The theory
The results
Later research


The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment encapsulated the spirit of the 18th century. Belief in reason was typical to the era. Everything had to experimented and proven scientifically. Several new sciences like economics and statistics were developed at that time. It was strongly believed that with the use of reason and scientific research the living conditions and the whole society can be improved and reforms made.

The enlightenment originated in Holland and England where the main representatives of the movement were John Locke and David Hume. In France Voltaire and the encyclopedia movement were the most visible characters of the movement. Maurepas, the French minister responsible for the naval matters was interested in sciences. He actively followed the scientific dispute of the shape of the earth. It was through him that the degree measurement expeditions gained the support of the French King.

The principles of the Enlightenment were later followed in the declaration of independence of the United States and in the French Revolution.

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