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The Age of Reason (or Enlightenment) is the name given to a period in European history roughly dating from 1650 to 1800, in which the use of reasoning and rationality rather than reference to tradition or to canonical religious texts were seen as enabling man to understand the world and his place in it. This intellectual movement emphasized the rights of the individual and saw the rise of modern scientific thinking. However, this period was also characterized by massive political and social ruptures (French Revolution and the Terror) as well as by the rule of the absolutist monarchies in France, Prussia, and elsewhere in Europe.

Louis XIV of France (1638–1715) not only established modern policing, but he also aimed at strengthening his power by remodeling city ...

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