Scotlands History\|Scottish Enlightenment

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The Scottish Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that ranged across the fields of philosophy, chemistry, geology, architecture, poetry, engineering, technology, economics, sociology, medicine and history.

The 18th century is often described as Scotland’s ‘Golden Age’.

In this learning resource you will come face to face with David Hume, James Hutton, Robert Adam, Joseph Black, James Watt, Alison Rutherford and Adam Smith.

These Enlightenment figures were outspoken; they argued that it was vitally important for people to think for themselves rather than simply believing what they were told.

Their ideas were often controversial. In Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen great thinkers sought to understand the natural world and the human mind.

Today, many historians believe that the ideas and advances that emerged from the Scottish Enlightenment helped to shape the modern world.

An image showing the Homecoming Scotland 2009 logo

National Trust for Scotland logo   National Library of Scotland logo   HEF logo 240x100


This Scottish Enlightenment online learning resource was created in partnership with the National Trust Scotland, and with invaluable support from the National Library of Scotland and the Heritage Education Forum.

Please see the credits and acknowledgements page for full details of the individuals, organisations and groups that made this resource possible.