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Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?

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Some people in eighteenth-century Europe thought that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism. It’s easy and cheap availability meant that literacy would no longer be restricted to the upper classes. While the clergy and monarchs feared the enlightenment that a vast reading public would gain, reformers like Martin Luther welcomed the change. They felt that it would mark an end to the blind adherence to the rulers’ ideology. This can be seen in the French Revolution as well. The print medium allowed the ideals of freedom, equality and brotherhood set forth by Rousseau and Voltaire in their writings to reach the public. It created a new culture of dialogue and debate that initiated the working class into questioning and re-evaluating social customs and norms. The power of reason that the public gained initiated social reform, and brought an end to despotism.

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