The historical and cultural period that follows the Renaissance is known as the Enlightenment. This period lasts from the middle decades of the 17th century through the 18th century.
The Enlightenment is characterized by great revolutions in science, philosophy, society and politics. Many scholars consider this historical period to be the basis of the modern Western world and the driving force behind the French Revolution, which led to a modern form of government. The basic ideals of this period are based on freedom and equality, which stem from principles of human reason. Major thinkers of this period include Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant and Isaac Newton.