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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. He died on December 5, 1791, in Vienna, Austria.

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Life in Europe
During Wolfgang's life, Europe was ruled by major dynasties. These include the Hapsburgs in Austria, the Bourbons in France, the Hanoverians in England, and the Romanovs in Russia.

There was no "middle class." People were either part of the aristocracy which was the upper class, or the people were servants and laborers who worked for the aristocracy.

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The Life of a Musician
Musicians were considered servants. They were not free to compose musical works independently.

To make a living, musicians were hired by the royal courts or wealthy patrons to compose a specific piece of music for a specific sum of money. If the king wanted a symphony, the musician would compose a symphony. If the king wanted the symphony to be on a particular topic and in a particular language, the musician composed the symphony on that topic and in that language.

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Music Composition
The composition of music followed certain rules or patterns. For example, music was light and happy for royal dances, or simple and quiet for background music at social gatherings. The music was often predictable.

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The Age of Enlightenment
In the 1700's, the Age of Enlightenment was a time when people began to change the way they looked at the world. They resisted the old traditional way of life by challenging the oppressive rulers and powers of the Church.

The Age of Enlightenment produced many great philosophers, writers, and scientists who had new and revolutionary ideas. The following is a list of a few of these great thinkers.

     René Descartes (1596-1650) believed the world could be understood through reasoning and stated, "I think, therefore I am."

     John Locke (1632-1704) introduced the concept of Constitutional democracy and opposed the divine right of kings.

     Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) discovered the laws of gravity and motion.

     Voltaire (1694-1778) supported the power of the people by challenging the authority of the monarch and the church.

     Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) developed the concept of majority rules which influenced the French Revolution and is the cornerstone for democracy.

     Adam Smith (1723-1790) developed an economic system based on capitalism and "laissez-faire" which means the government should not interfere with business.

     Thomas Paine (1737-1809) wrote Common Sense in support of the American Revolution and The Rights of Man in support of the French Revolution.

     Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) were influential in bringing the Age of Enlightenment to North America when the United States of America was formed.

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