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Counting The Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter evaluates attitudes toward the Edict on Religion through a statistical analysis of the most thorough data set currently available on the German-wide print battle. Put most bluntly, it counts the number of responses that were published for and against the edict. The method is simple but all the more necessary, because for many modern interpreters, the debate about the edict was the Enlightenment's last stand against a reactionary counter-attack. If, however, support for the edict in print was more widespread than opposition to it, then the "last stand" thesis would seem to lack justification. And the data suggest exactly that, as there was strong support among elite circles across Germany for the intent behind Johann Christoph Woellner's policies, with fully 58.3% of the books published having supported the measure.

Keywords: Edict on Religion; Enlightenment; Germany; Johann Christoph Woellner



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