Enlightenment essay you should start with some brief information about this period. Essays on the enlightenment are available on the internet, but the following information can also be useful for you.
XVIII century is the century of the final fall of feudalism in Western Europe, the formation of the great European colonial powers, composition of the global market. The culture of XVIII century came under the title "The Age of Enlightenment", or "The Age of Reason". "Enlightenment", according to Wikipedia, is the same designation of cultural epoch as "Antiquity", "Middle Ages" or "Renaissance", that is, it has the widest sense of the term. The epoch of Enlightenment has created its own special view of the world, particular ideology on the basis of which there appeared a new stage in the arts.
XVIII century is the key period of modern times, when traditional consciousness collapsed. Modern consciousness begins, according to Max Weber, with self-contained sense of separation, which is contained in religion and metaphysics into three autonomous areas: science, morality, art. Each of these areas should develop according to its own internal laws. At the same time, this project was designed to release the cognitive potential of each of these areas. Illuminators were going to achieve specialization in the culture for the benefit of everyday life, in other words, for a more efficient device of everyday life arrangement. The Enlightenment sought to illuminate with the new critical light of all hitherto existing views and theories, and was especially radical in the areas of religion, philosophy and social thought. It was in the XVIII century mind triumphed over faith. This period can also be characterized by the dependence of a person from society. New concept of education appeared, according to which a person is a reflection of the state of society. Consequently, improvement of society will lead to the improvement of each person. In men, the founders of the Enlightenment saw the creatures who were good by nature. Endowed with inherent inalienable rights for freedom, equality and happiness, as the mind is the way to achieve these aspirations. This idea of the human right to be happy on the Earth, not in the world of dead, distinguishes hedonistic XVIII century from XVII century, with its Christian severe rigor. Therefore, the philosophy and literature of the Enlightenment was free from all mystical, extrasensory and irrational. That is why they differ from a materialistic, purely rationalistic approach to the world and man.
We are still too close to this epoch, and the appreciation of the role of the Enlightenment will be clarified in further disputes. However, for understanding of the sense of the Enlightenment it is important to underline two aspects: lightweight, too narrow view of a man as the sum of the external forces of nature and society and utopian hopes that the explanation of a man of his true interests will lead to a rapid reform of society by improving each individual separately. The Enlightenment gave us a lot of amazing authors, artists and philosophers. This epoch showed that human being is an extremely powerful and clever creature, which is able to cope with any situation and create a lot of amazing things for the society and the whole world.