The enlightenment brought about a drastic change in ideas and views on the world. These views have changed the world as we know it today. Philosophers from the enlightenment looked at things very differently from views of the past. Many of these ideas we use, and cherish today in American life and politics every day. John Locke, who is considered the father of liberalism, was the first to propose that that we are born without innate ideas; instead knowledge is the product of experience and perception. Locke also proposed that human nature is variable and can be improved through his environment. Locke’s ideas brought about Utilitarianism, the belief that laws should be created for the common good and not for special interest, In other words the greatest good for the greatest number. People soon took an optimistic view of the world, bringing about more tolerance. Voltaire, who encouraged individual rights famously said, “I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!” For the first time as a society freedom and equality is an important idea to both rulers and the people. Based on the idea of equality they also called for legal and penal reforms to more equally represent people. Also freedom of speech and the press is created under these ideas of personal equality. The enlightenment also brought about a more logical and scientific view of the world. People began valuing logic based on facts over faith or apathy. Using logic and facts the scientific method was first used and applied to the world, which brought great advances in technology and society.
During the enlightenment a new kind of leader rose to power, the enlightened despot, a leader who used the philosophies of the enlightenment and used them to rule. In sharp contrast with absolutism, these leaders believed in things like free speech, equal rights, and utilitarianism. Many of these rulers were: Joseph II of Austria, Catherine II of... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 10). Enlightened Despot. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Enlightened-Despot-455981.html
"Enlightened Despot" StudyMode.com. 10 2010. 10 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Enlightened-Despot-455981.html>.
"Enlightened Despot." StudyMode.com. 10, 2010. Accessed 10, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Enlightened-Despot-455981.html.