2020 marks the 400th anniversary (one complete cycle of our calendar) of the publication of Francis Bacon’s Novum organum scientiarum, "New Instrument or New Method of Science," which Voltaire called “the scaffold with which the new philosophy [modern science] has been raised.” The famous title page quotes from Daniel, "Many shall go to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased," and depicts a ship sailing through the pillars of Hercules, representing the Strait of Gibraltar, the Western edge of the Mediterranean and for many centuries the boundary of the known world.
2020 is also the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower, a seminal event in the history of modern democracy, as the passengers formed the first semi-autonomous, democratic government in the colonies (the first general assembly in the Virginia Colony was held the previous year). Driven wildly off course by storms, the Mayflower landed at Cape Cod in what is now Massachusetts, but they had set sail for Virginia. Francis Bacon was a large presence in the Virginia Company, and may have drafted the charters for its government in 1609 and 1612; an anonymous 1610 Virginia Company propaganda pamphlet, A true declaration of the estate of the colonie in Virginia, has been analyzed and found likely a production of Bacon's pen.
First History of the Royal Society (1667), the world's oldest scientific body,
with Bacon as Artium Instaurator, "restorer of the arts"
However, as Graham Rees, who worked on the ongoing sixteen-volume Oxford Francis Bacon, wrote in "Reflections on the Reputation of Francis Bacon's Philosophy,"
in the twentieth century Lord Verulam, once regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Western tradition, was relegated to an intellectual salon des refusés from which he has been hard put to escape."