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Are the illuminati real? - Chip Berlet

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The year was 1776. In Bavaria, new ideals of rationalism, religious freedom and universal human rights competed with the Catholic church’s heavy influence over public affairs. Adam Weishaupt, a law professor frustrated with the Church’s ideology, decided to spread his ideas through a secret society: the Illuminati. Chip Berlet dives into the history, ideals and rituals of the infamous group.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Chip Berlet
  • Director Brett Underhill
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Brett Underhill
  • Designer Brett Underhill
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
studyInvestigative journalist, and the educator of this lesson, Chip Berlet has put a website together on how to evaluate modern day conspiracy theories. Berlet takes us back to the illuminati's association with conspiracy theories up until modern day conspiracies. 

Interested in learning about the history behind the separation of Church and state in the United States? Check out Time’s piece tracing back the separation of state and church.

For a closure look into Adam Weishaupt’s personal life, and what inspired him to find the illuminati, check out National Geographic’s piece, Meet the Man who started the Illuminati.

Curious about why the Illuminati are associated with conspiracy theories, check out this article dunking their modern day astigmatism. Timeline asses the secret society’s internal development across time.

Check out Chip Berlet's study on how conspiracy theories, demonization and scapegoating affect democracy

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Chip Berlet
  • Director Brett Underhill
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Brett Underhill
  • Designer Brett Underhill
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-checker Eden Girma
  • See more