Superstition existed in eighteenth century England as a result of various social and political factors. Despite being dubbed as the age of reason and an age that prioritized rationality above all else, superstitions existed in the eighteenth century in England in a major way. These were beliefs that could not be explained away using the major philosophical force of the age, that of rationality and reason. Believing in the exclusive power of the human mind to rationalize, a feature that set him aside and above the beasts, philosophers f the eighteenth century sought to replace an order of dogma and irrational beliefs with frameworks that would depend solely on reason. The thought of earlier thinkers like Rene Descartes that had spread to England as well, was instrumental in driving this movement forward. However, superstitions that were previously a part of the cultural ethos of the English populace refused to fade away and stayed. There are many reasons behind this obstinate refusal to vanish and this paper shall attempt to discuss these and find in texts of literature that were produced during this period of time references to these and attempts to understand the phenomenon.
The eighteenth century was a period of time when England was leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to gain ascendancy in the sea and also in the race to gain new colonies. The rise of the bourgeoisie marked this colonial expansionist drive in England, leading to massive social upheavals and shifts in the social tectonics of eighteenth century England.