Scientific academies and societies grew out of the Scientific Revolution as the creators of scientific knowledge in contrast to the scholasticism of the university.  During the Enlightenment, some societies created or retained links to universities, but contemporary sources distinguished universities from scientific societies by claiming that the university's utility was in the transmission of knowledge while societies functioned to create knowledge.  As the role of universities in institutionalized science began to diminish, learned societies became the cornerstone of organized science. Official scientific societies were chartered by the state in order to provide technical expertise.  Most societies were granted permission to oversee their own publications, control the election of new members and the administration of the society.  After 1700, a tremendous number of official academies and societies were founded in Europe and by 1789 there were over seventy official scientific societies. In reference to this growth, Bernard de Fontenelle coined the term "the Age of Academies" to describe the 18th century. 
What ultimately and abruptly killed the Enlightenment, however, was the French Revolution . Begun with the best intentions by French citizens inspired by Enlightenment thought, the revolution attempted to implement orderly representative assemblies but quickly degraded into chaos and violence. Many people cited the Enlightenment-induced breakdown of norms as the root cause of the instability and saw the violence as proof that the masses could not be trusted to govern themselves. Nonetheless, the discoveries and theories of the Enlightenment philosophers continued to influence Western society for centuries.