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The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and Candide In 1755 an earthquake measuring 90 on the Richter scale occurred in Lisbon Portugal changing European history and philosophy But how does one geologic event trigger a paradigm shift from naturalism to liberalism Naturalism unites with rationalism during the Age of Enlightenment a philosophical movement during the 18th century which rejects traditional social religious and political ideas with an emphasis on rationalism People believe in a world which follows logical rules where reason can be used to discover and implement a perfect society The earthquake in Lisbon shook the very foundation of their beliefs The Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason is characterized with a belief in natural law universal order and the confidence of human reason in the 18th century Organized religions like Christianity became the enemies of the enlightened ones and Voltaire created the slogan Erasez Iinfame meaning Wipe it out Wipe out the infamous thing ie the church of the old order His influence popularized the ideals of the age In Candide Voltaire expresses his philosophy through his characters that embody different ideals of Enlightenment For example Candide represents the ludicracy of total optimism The religious satire of Candide criticizes the traditional dogma One of the major proponents of the Enlightenment is that individuals have to take control of their own lives which is what Candide finally does after the earthquake His character growth is based upon the destruction of the world around him The devastating earthquake of 1755 in Lisbon killed about 30000 people in a matter of three and a half minutes Many were killed because they were packed into the citys churches in celebration of All Saints Day the heavy roofs of the church collapsed on top of them Also the candles that were burning at the time started a huge fire that destroyed the cultural treasures of Portugal The kings palace was burnt destroying a 70000-volume library and hundreds of
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