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Enlightenment


ENLIGHTENMENT THEMES

  • Scientific Revolution leading to Enlightenment

  • Different views on government/social contract

  • Views on religion

  • Education

  • Women

  • Economics

  • Enlightenment and America

  • Enlightened despotism

HOW SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION LED TO ENLIGHTENMENT

  • Science was accepted by educated elites and monarchs

  • Scientific belief that human understanding should be used to understand world

  • Criticism of accepted traditions and authorities (including religion)

  • Reliance on empirical evidence to back scientific arguments.

  • Isaac Newton

  • Described universe as ordered, mechanical.

  • Showed reason and nature were compatible.

ENLIGHTENMENT DEFINED

  • Name

  • Based on the belief that reason would get rid of ignorance and enlighten humans.

  • Challenged authority

  • Emphasized reason and individualism rather than tradition and authorities.

  • Challenged church

  • Skepticism and doubt about religious dogmas.

  • Championed natural laws

  • Nature, with its laws, order and simplicity, would guide human thought and society.

PEOPLE

ENLIGHTENMENT THINKERS IN A NUTSHELL (Alphabetical)

  • Mary Astell (1666-1731)

  • Wrote: A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694)

  • Ideas: Women should be educated to ideas of new science - reason and debate, rather than tradition, questioned inequality of men's and women's roles

  • Quote: "If All Men are born free, how is it that all Women are born Slaves?"

  • Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) (French Huguenot)

  • Wrote: News from the Republic of Letters (1684), Historical and Critical Dictionary (1697)

  • Ideas: Believed nothing can ever be known beyond all doubt (skepticism).Wrote list of religious beliefs that didn't stand up to reason. Believed morals and religion were separate.

  • Cesare Beccaria (738-1794) (Italy)

  • Wrote: Essay on Crimes and Punishment (1764)

  • Ideas: Condemned torture and death penalty, barbarous punishments didn't deter crime.

  • Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749) (France)

  • Wrote: Translated Newton's Principia Mathematica, Foundations of Physics, 1740Ideas: Voltaire's lover,

  • John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) (Czech Republic)

  • Wrote: The Gate of Tongues Unlocked, 1632

  • Ideas: Innovations in methods of teaching, especially languages (Latin)

  • Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794) (France)

  • Wrote: The Progress of the Human Mind (while hiding during Reign of Terror)

  • Ideas: Condorcet method of tallying votes, Believed humans had progressed through nine stages of history, now with spread of science and reason, humans entering the tenth stage of perfection.

  • Quote: "There is no limit to the perfecting of the powers of man; that human perfectibility is in reality indefinite, that the progress of this perfectibility has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which nature has placed us."

  • Deism

  • ​"Clock makers theory," God created earth then left it alone.

  • Denis Diderot (1713-1784) (France)

  • Edited: Encyclopedia, 28 volumes, compendium of knowledge (1751-1772)

  • Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757)

  • Secretary of the French Royal Academy of science from 1691 to 1741

  • Wrote: Plurality of Worlds -- a conversation between an aristocrat and her lover about the stars.

  • David Hume (1711-1776) (England)

  • Wrote: Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1748)

  • Ideas: Nothing (including God) could be known for sure, reality is only perception, religion = hope and fear.

  • Thomas Jefferson (America)

  • Wrote: Declaration of Independence (based on Locke)

  • Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

  • Wrote: Critique of Pure Reason (1781)

  • Defined Enlightenment as "man's leaving his self-caused immaturity"

  • Quote: "Dare to Know"

  • John Locke (1632-1704) (England)

  • Wrote: Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), Second Treatise of Government 1690

  • Ideas: Tabula Rasa, authority of govt. from consent of government, government's job is to protect life, liberty and property

  • Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786)

  • Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) (France)

  • Wrote: Persian Letters, The Spirit of the Laws (1748)

  • Ideas: Satire of French life, Admired England, Separation of powers, different governments suited different conditions (size, population, geography etc.)

  • Thomas Paine (1737-1809) (America)

  • Wrote: Common Sense (1776), Rights of Man (1791)

  • Ideas: Believed colonist should separate from Britain,

  • Physiocrats

  • ​"Laissez faire, laissez passer," land/agriculture is a source of country's wealth

  • Francois Quesnay (1694-1774)

  • Ideas: Physiocrat, land was the only source of wealth, against mercantilism, one tax derived from land.

  • Abbe Guillaume Raynal (1713-1796)

  • Ideas: Critic of slavery, said it was irrational and inhumane, called for slave rebellion"

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) (Geneva, Switz.)

  • Wrote: Origin of Inequality (1755), Emile (1762), Social Contract (1762)

  • Ideas: Property corrupted society, children should be educated naturally (not women), individual rights not as important as the "general will"

  • Quotes: "Man was born free and everywhere he is in chains"

  • Salons

  • ​Space where philosophes, artists, writers met, usually run by women

  • Adam Smith (1723-1790)

  • Wrote: The Wealth of Nations (1776)

  • Ideas: Against mercantilism, "invisible hand," laissez-faire.

  • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) (Dutch Republic, Jewish)

  • Wrote: Theological Political Treatise, 1670

  • Ideas: Denied immortality of the soul, ostracized by Jewish community

  • Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) (1694-1778)

  • Wrote: 92 volumes of works, Candide (1759), Letters on the English (1733), Treatise on Tolerance (1763)

  • Ideas: Attacked superstition, religious persecution (defended Jean Calas) and uncritical optimism, believe in enlightened despotism, rule using authority to reform, deist, admired England.

  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

  • Wrote: Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

  • Ideas: stressed need to educate women and against view that women weaker than men.

ENLIGHTENMENT THINKERS EXPANDED

John Locke (1632-1704)

  • Applied scientific thinking to human psychology

  • Wrote Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

  • Tabula Rasa --

  • ​Our brains at birth are blank slates (pl. tabulae rasae)

  • We were not born with innate ideas

  • All knowledge comes from sensory perception (that is, through touch, hearing, seeing etc. -- empiricism) as well as experiences and reason

  • Therefore, schools should play big role in molding people from childhood

Philosophes

  • French term for intellectuals of the Enlightenment (not exactly "philosophers")

  • Came from noble and middle-class origins

  • Wrote plays, histories, novels, encyclopedic entries and pamphlets.

  • Promoted a "republic of letters"

  • Common intellectual culture

  • that crossed national boundaries

  • And allowed intellectuals to freely exchange books and ideas.

  • Met at private gathering (salons)

  • Notable Philosophes:

  • Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Kant, Hume, Benjamin Franklin

Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)

  • Wealthy judge in a French court

  • Wrote Persian Letters (1721)

  • Satirized customs, morals and practices of Europeans from view of two Persian travelers.

Voltaire (1694-1778)


  • Personal information

  • French author born Francois Arouet

  • Imprisoned repeatedly in Bastille prison (France)

  • Because he criticized the crown and fought with nobles.

  • Protected by lover, Emilie du Chatelet (see below), and her husband

  • When she died, he went to court of Prussian King Frederick II, then returned to France

  • Prolific writer

  • Wrote 90 volumes of drama, history, essays, letters and scientific treatises.

  • Idealized England

  • Admired individual and religious freedom in England and the political system.

  • Home of Newton and Locke

  • Wrote Letters concerning the English Nation (1733) criticizing French politics and religious intolerance.

  • Wrote Candide (1759)

  • Ridiculed nobility and clergy

  • Criticized naive optimists who believed this is the best of all possible worlds and all things turn out for the best" (character: Pangloss)

  • See below:

  • Voltaire on Government

  • Voltaire on the Church

Diderot (1713-1774) and the Encyclopedia

  • Edited Encyclopedia with Jean d'Alembert.

  • First volume, 1751, completed 1772

  • Collaborative effort by many philosophes

  • Who contributed articles

  • Stated aims of the Encyclopedia (written in preface)

  • "To contribute to the certitude and progress of human knowledge"

  • Reason alone could be used to discover, understand or clarify almost anything

  • Topics

  • Exploring spectrum of knowledge from music, to machinery to philosophy

  • Catholic church and government saw it as a direct threat to status quo.

  • Attempts made to censor it or stop production.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)


  • Discourse on the Origins of Inequality of Mankind

  • Said humans were once happily living in a primitive condition (a "state of nature") no laws, all people were equal

  • Then a man enclosed a piece of ground and called it his own

  • Once there was private property, people adopted laws and leaders --> everyone was in chains

  • The Social Contract (1762) (see below)

  • Agreement by society to be governed by the "general will."

  • Everyone gave up their self-interest for the interest of the community.

  • Even people who choose representatives to make decisions for them (for example, a parliament) are enslaved.

  • Precursor to Socialism

  • Emile (1762)

  • Most important work on education.

  • Written like a novel.

  • Said education should encourage natural instincts through life experiences.

  • emphasized emotion over reason (precursor to Romanticism)

  • However, Rousseau sent all his own children to orphanage

  • Character Emile's wife, Sophie, was only educated to be a skilled, obedient wife and mother

THEMES

WOMEN

Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749)


  • Voltaire's lover (although she had a husband)

  • Spoke four languages and translated Greek and Latin texts.

  • In 1733 joined a men's intellectual group

  • Had to wear men's clothes so that management would admit her.

  • Butt she was excluded from Royal Academy of Science because of her gender (used private tutors instead)

  • Experimented in physics

  • Published three-volume work on German mathematician Leibnitz

  • Translated Newton's Principles of Mathematics.

  • Died in childbirth in 1749

Mary Astell (1666-1731)

  • Wrote: A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694)

  • Ideas: Women should be educated to ideas of new science - reason and debate, rather than tradition, questioned inequality of men's and women's roles

  • Quote: "If All Men are born free, how is it that all Women are born Slaves?"

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

  • Wrote: Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

  • Ideas: stressed need to educate women and against view that women weaker than men.

Rousseau

  • Believed women should not be educated

Salons

  • Usually run by wealthy, aristocratic women

GOVERNMENT


Hobbes (Leviathan, 1651)

  • Writing during the British Civil War, had a negative view of human nature

  • Without a common power, he said, men were in constant conflict with each other

  • The "life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short"

  • Therefore a strong central power was needed to protect men against other greedy men.

Locke (Two Treatises of Government, 1690)

  • Writing after the 1688 Glorious Revolution

  • Men were once in a state of nature and enjoyed "natural rights" (life, liberty and property)

  • More stable than in Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan

  • But to safeguard these rights

  • Individuals agreed to surrender certain amount of their sovereignty to government

  • But the powers of the government (whether a monarchy or republic)

  • Was strictly limited

  • No government could violate individuals rights

  • If it did, the people who set it up could and should overthrow it (as the English did in the Glorious Revolution)

  • Eventually it became more convenient for people to form a government

  • The role of that government was to protect natural rights to life, liberty and property.

  • If government doesn't fulfill this, it should be overthrown.

Montesqueiu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748)

  • Attempted to apply scientific method to politics to find "natural laws" governing social relationships of human beings.

  • Political institutions should conform to the climate, customs, beliefs and economy of a particular country

  • Limited monarchy -- appropriate for countries of moderate size (like France)

  • Republic -- appropriate for smaller states (Venice, ancient Athens)

  • Each form of government has its virtues and vices

  • Separation of powers and checks and balances

  • Could best secure limited sovereignty

  • Otherwise tyranny could result

  • See US government: executive, judicial and legislative branches

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract (1762)

  • Built on John Locke’s work

  • Offered a more radical political theory than Montesquieu’s

  • In his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1755)

  • Rousseau argued that people in the “primitive” state of “noble savagery”

  • Were free, equal and relatively happy.

  • Only when some of them began marking off plots of ground

  • Claiming them as their own

  • And thereby founding civil society

  • Did the troubles begin

  • Private property

  • Created inequality

  • And the need for laws and governments to protect people from crime and wars

  • In The Social Contract (1762)

  • Rousseau began by challenging his contemporaries

  • “Man is born free: and everywhere he is in chains”

  • He then offered a solution

  • To this conflict between individual freedom and social restrictions

  • In an ideal state, he argued people entered into a compact with one another

  • Agreeing to surrender their individual liberty – which was driven by self-interest, to the whole society

  • Although government restricted individual freedom, it was a necessary evil.

  • Rejected individualism

  • stressed role of individual as a member of society.

  • social contract was a contract in which the members of society agreed to be ruled by their genral will.

  • General will would be exercised by a small group.

  • Obedience to the genera will was an act of freedom.

  • Didn't favor democracy

RELIGION

Events questioning religion:

  • Geological discoveries suggested that life on Earth began earlier than biblical accounts claimed.

  • Investigators began casting doubt on reports of miracles and prophecies.

Pierre Bayle (1647-1706)

  • French Huguenot

  • Forced to flee to Dutch Republic because of Louis XIV's religious persecutions

  • Leading proponent of skepticism

  • Wrote News from the Republic of Letters (1684)

  • Attacked intolerance of the French monarchy and the Catholic Church

  • Published Historical and Critical Dictionary (1697)

  • Had list of religious beliefs that did not stand up to human reason and common sense.

  • Said morals and religion were separate

David Hume (1711-1776)

  • Scottish philosopher and historian

  • Wrote Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1748) (see below)

  • Insisted that nothing-not even the existence of God or our own existence - could be known for sure.

  • Reality = only human perceptions

  • established religions were based on nothing but hope and fear.

  • Reason demanded people live with skeptical uncertainty rather than dogmatic faith.

Voltaire

  • Voltaire educated by Jesuits - but denounced their religious doctrine

  • Voltaire was a deist

  • Wrote Philosophical Dictionary attacking churches and religion

  • Wrote Treatise on Tolerance (1763)

  • Criticized murder of Protestant merchant Jean Calas

  • On false charges of murdering his son or threatening to convert to Catholicism.

  • Said look on all men as brothers.

  • "Ecrasez l'infame" -- Crush the infamous thing (the Church of Rome)

Deism

  • Belief that an impersonal, infinite Divine being created the universe.

  • But did not interfere with the world of human affairs

ECONOMICS

Physiocrats

  • French economists

  • Created first scientific system of economics

  • Believed wealth of nations came from the value of land

  • Believed agricultural products should be highly priced.

  • Important physiocrats; Francois Quesnay (see below), Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (economic minister to Louis XVI 1774-1776), Marquis de Condorcet

Francois Quesnay (1694-1774)

  • French medical doctor and economist from Physiocrat school

  • Believed that the economy should be analyzed and studied - like the human body

  • Not molded to suit the will of the king.

  • Wrote Economic Table, 1758

  • Provided ideas of the physiocrats

  • Shows how the economy functions.

  • Like other enlightenment thinkers, he saw economy following natural laws.

  • Opposed government intervention in economy (against mercantilism) because it would corrupt the natural evolution of the economy

  • and was the only source of wealth,

  • one tax derived from land.

  • And Le Despotisme de la Chine, 1767

  • Praising constitutional Oriental Despotism

Adam Smith (1723-1790)


  • British economist

  • Wrote: The Wealth of Nations, 1776

  • Ideas:

  • Believed in laissez-faire, that is, the government should stay out of economic an allow the economy to operate naturally, as if it is directed by an "invisible hand."

  • Prices, wages etc. will adjust according to supply-and-demand.

  • Against mercantilism and guilds

  • Because they obstruct free enterprise

  • If one country can supply another country with cheaper product it's better to buy them than to make them.

  • Labor

  • Unlike physiocrats he believed tht labor (of farmers, artisans, merchant) was the true wealth of a nation.

  • The ONLY role of government:

  • To protect society from invasion (army, navy)

  • Defend individuals from injustice and oppression

  • And keep up public works (roads, canals etc.) that individuals could not afford

  • Laid the foundation for 19th century economic liberalism (classical liberalism)

Comparison Physiocrats and Adam Smith

  • Similarities

  • Both believed that gold and silver were not the source of a natio's true wealthy (mercantilism)

  • Both believed the stte should not interfered in economic matters

  • Both believed int he existence of natural economic forces of supply and demand (laissez-faire)

  • Differences

  • Physiocrats believed that soil was the ource of a nation's wealth

  • Smith believed that labor was the source of a nation's wealth

Rousseau

  • Private property is the cause of all inequality

ENLIGHTENED DESPOTISM

  • Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot etc.

  • Didn’t think monarchy should be dismantled – but more enlightened

  • Wanted change not through creation of republics but monarchs who initiated reform

  • Voltaire's Definition of Enlightened Despot

  • Should fight stupidity

  • Support arts, sciences, education

  • Keep clergy subordinate

  • Allow freedoms

  • Thought, religion, speech, press

  • Uphold right to private property

  • Embrace enlightened concept of social contract

  • But not limit their power through a constitution

  • Least Enlightened

  • Louis XV and XVI

  • Failed to reform

  • Enlightened despots

  • Trend after 1740

  • Catherine the Great (1762-1796)

  • Maria Theresa of Austria (1740-1780)

  • Joseph II of Austria (1741-1790)

  • Frederick the Great, King of Prussia (1740-1786)

  • All

  • Read works of Enlightenment

  • Some religious toleration

  • Promoted and broadened access to education

  • Claimed their power was for the good of their people

  • Sponsored reforms to modernize

  • Codification of laws

  • Innovations in agriculture

  • Wanted quick results

  • Tended to make changes arbitrarily (without consistency)

  • None became constitutional monarchs

Catherine the Great of Russia (1762-1796)


  • Background

  • Came from Germany (she was a foreigner)

  • Married to Peter III whom she despised (had him deposed and killed)

  • With Peter's death, she became czarina

  • But depended on nobility for support (which limited the extent of her reforms)

  • Law

  • One of first acts was to call a meeting of delegates from every class except serfs

  • To consider a codification of Russian law

  • To prepare she read Montesquieu and Beccaria

  • Delegates met 18 months, some codification accomplished, but not all

  • Most important result: she learned about Russia

  • Serfdom

  • She had ambitions to reduce or reform serfdom

  • But plans were stopped because of Pugachev’s Rebellion, 1773-1774

  • 1000s of rebellious serfs killed people and proclaimed end to serfdom, taxation and military conscription, Pugachev caught, tortured and executed

  • Landlords were given more authority than ever over the rural masses

  • Personal Enlightenment

  • ​Corresponded with Voltaire, Montesquieu and Diderot

  • When Diderot needed money to get out of debt, Catherine bought his library then lent it to him.

  • Educational reforms

  • School for daughters of nobility

  • And authorized first printing presses

  • Supported arts

  • Modernized along Western European standards

  • Not enlightened

  • Catherine did not grant rights to religious minorities in Russia

  • Rejected idea of a social contract

  • Biography

  • Catherine was "expansionist' - took territory from Poland and Ottoman Turks

  • Groomed grandson Alexander to succeed her.

Maria Theresa of Austria (1740-1780)


  • Background

  • Became queen in 1740

  • Had to fight for her throne, War of Austrian Succession

  • But she worked to centralize her power from Vienna.

  • Magyars (Hungary) left alone

  • Bohemians lost constitutional charter

  • Local diets could now only "consent" to taxes imposed by central govt.

  • Revealed weakness of hodgepodge kingdom

  • Able advisers

  • Local authority give to professional salaried employees of state

  • Economy

  • Established trade union and limited the power of guild monopolies

  • The economy prospered, particularly in Bohemia

  • Serfdom

  • 1772 limited robot (labor that lords demanded from serfs) to three days a week/12 hours a day

  • Passed laws to protect them from abuse

  • Questionable to what degree these new regulations were enforced

  • Religion

  • Expelled Jesuits (despite her personal religious faith)

  • Instituted some degree of religious toleration

  • Punishment: Restricted use of torture

  • Increased number of provinces from 20 to 50

Joseph II of Austria (1741-1790) (most enlightened)


  • Background

  • Shared power with his mother, Maria Theresa, until her death in 1780

  • He grew impatient with her slow cautious ways

  • From 1780-1790 he ruled on his own.

  • Passed over 10,000 laws

  • Acted quickly and arbitrarily

  • Patron of arts

  • Known as the “Musical King”

  • Commissioned Beethoven to write a funeral cantata for him.

  • Education

  • To improve education, government provided teachers and texts for about ¼ of Austria’s children (high % at that time).

  • Religion

  • Granted Jews the right to worship

  • but had to pay special tax for the privilege

  • Protestants

  • Given right to hold positions at court in Vienna

  • Catholics

  • Did away with what he viewed as wasteful

  • Established many churches

  • But reduced number of religious holidays

  • Closed 1/3 of convents and monasteries

  • Keeping the ones who educated youth or performed charity

  • Medicine

  • With money from confiscated church property, he supported hospitals

  • Which began Vienna’s reputation as a center of medicine

  • Serfs

  • Passed Serfdom Patent in 1781 which essentially ended slavery

  • Landlords could no longer punish serfs

  • Serfs could independently choose spouses

  • Serfs could choose careers

  • Serfs could move between estates.

  • Newly freed peasants found that freedom came with price - increased taxes

  • Law

  • Installed equal taxes and equal justice

  • Punishments for crime were made less severe

  • And capital punishment was abolished

  • Social contract

  • “Everything for the people, nothing by the people”

  • Failures

  • Joseph discovered that further reform in the countryside was impossible

  • Because of strong resistance of the nobility.

  • Joseph died in 1790 (age 49) disappointed and disillusioned

  • Appreciated by neither nobility nor peasants

  • Not able to delegate and had trained no successor

  • Most of Joseph’s reforms were repealed immediately

  • But some lasted.

  • Leopold

  • Joseph’s successor

  • Ignored pleas of his sister Marie Antoinette in France in early days of revolution

  • Austrian nobility did not get back all it power in the diets

  • Which Joseph had taken away

  • And peasants kept right to move marry and choose an occupation

  • Died 2 years later

  • His son Francis II not as wise as his father

  • Austria at war with France

Fredrick the Great of Prussia (1740-1786)


  • Background

  • King of Prussia same time as Maria Theresa (1740)

  • During War of Austrian Succession

  • He took Silesia from Austria

  • Personal Enlightenment

  • Personal study and intellect

  • Read, loved arts, played flute, wrote music

  • Corresponded with Voltaire before becoming king

  • Had Voltaire reside at his court at Potsdam for 2 years

  • Promoted new farming techniques

  • Social Contract

  • Called himself “first servant of the state”

  • Religion

  • Was a deist who believed all religions were equally superstitious

  • Said he would build a Mosque in the capital if Muslims wanted to move there

  • Established religious toleration for all except Jews

  • ​Considered Jews "useless to the state"

  • Built a large Catholic church in Berlin

  • Though Prussia was predominantly Lutheran

  • Education: Improved and promoted education

  • Law

  • Simplified laws

  • Abolished torture

  • Created appellate courts

  • Agriculture

  • Scientific improvements to agriculture

  • Improved agriculture by giving peasants tools, stock and seeds after the Seven Years War

  • Drained swamps

  • Introduced new crops

  • Such as clover (a “nitrogen-fixing” plant) and potatoes

  • Attempted to foster modern technological improvements

  • Such as the iron plow, crop rotation

  • Tried, unsuccessfully, to make Prussia grow its own tobacco

  • Encouraged manufacturing

  • Especially in textiles and metals (to benefit the army)

  • Tried to force the country to be self-sufficient

  • Heavily taxed imports, such as coffee

  • Serfdom

  • Abolished serfdom on his own estates

  • But didn’t tamper with the social system at large

  • He wanted to keep the landed aristocrats, the Junkers, as officers

  • And the peasants as soldiers

  • Thus education for peasants was limited to basic reading and writing

  • Not enlightened

  • Preferred that his Junker officers not marry

  • Because he disliked paying widow’s pensions

  • Bio

  • Like Joseph of Austria, he trained no successors

  • 20 years after his death

  • Napoleon’s army easily conquered the country


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