Enlightenment Essay

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Age of Enlightenment, Thomas Jefferson Pages: 2 (673 words) Published: May 13, 2007
What is Enlightenment, well it happened in the 18th century. It was a European movement in which thinkers such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and others attempted to apply the principles of reason and the scientific method to all aspects of society. John Locke thought people could reason, therefore they had the ability to govern themselves. The Enlightenment started because people began to realize that they could think for themselves and that monarchy was not the type of government they wanted. This was the start of democracy.

The 18th century was a time of change; people were starting to realize they were born with three natural rights Life, Liberty, and Property. Europe's idea of right to govern before the enlightenment was, a monarch's rule is justified by divine rights, meaning a monarch is god's representative on earth and therefore only answers to god. Also before the enlightenment there were few individual rights. The new idea on rights was the government's power comes from the governed persons. People started to realize the importance of individual rights. They also thought a change need to be made in the government. So instead of Absolute Monarchy, the people thought that Limited Monarchy or Democracy would work better. Mary Wollstonecraft was a philosopher her ideas are one of the major ideas of the enlightenment. She believed women and men should have equal rights. This idea and many more were what influence the American Revolution.

The American Revolution was caused by the colonies getting tired of having to pay high taxes on imports of French and Dutch goods; the colonist's thought that the British government was wrongfully taxing them so they revolted and won. In July of 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence was firmly based on the ideas of John Locke and the Enlightenment. The Declaration reflected these ideas in its clear arguments for natural...
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