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Enlightenment, Locke, Nationalism and Democracy Connections

By Livvv21 Oct 25, 2012 663 Words
 Which of the political philosophers you read about do you think had the greatest influence on government and society today?  Provide reasons for your position.

Out of all the political philosophers that I read about, I think Locke had the greatest influence on society and government today. John Locke influenced society with his idea that all babies are born “clean slates”. Even today, many people still believe that the environment in which a child grows up in is what forms him or her into the person they become later on in life. Another idea Locke had that influenced society was the belief regarding political freedom. Having political freedom is one of the most valued things this country offers its citizens. Being able to vote for our president, having the ability to run for any position in our government, and being able to speak our minds regarding our government and issues that surround it- is very important in America today. Political freedom is what makes our country stand out, and it is what other countries envy as well. Because John Locke strongly believed in political freedom, it positively influenced our government and society in the United States. Lastly, the natural rights that Locke came up with exist in our Constitution even in this modern world. The rights to “life, liberty, and property” are enforced in society as well as in our government. Nobody but one’s own self has rights to their own liberty, life, and property, and I think that that concept created by John Locke had the greatest influence on our culture today.

 With which of the philosophers do you disagree the most? Why?

Out of all the philosophers, I disagree with Hobbes the most. This is because I do not believe that his idea of exchanging freedom for security was a reasonable form of government. I believe that people have the right to criticize a ruler’s policies, and Hobbes did not believe that. The fact that Thomas Hobbes wrote a novel on how the government must be absolute and extremely powerful makes me uneasy, because I agree with Montesquieu, and believe in his system of checks and balances among the government. The spread of power in the branches of government is what I find to be important. This is why I do not find Hobbes’ idea of giving up all power to an absolute monarch agreeable. However, I do agree with the belief that power comes from the people, and that civil authority is far more superior than religious authority. Although I agree with Hobbes on a few things, I still disagree with Thomas Hobbes the most out of all philosophers. The idea of an absolute ruler, a social contract, and the concept of having an all-powerful government are what make me disagree with Hobbes the most out of the philosophers.

 What is the connection between the ideas of the Enlightenment and nationalism and democracy?

There is a widespread connection between the ideas of the Enlightenment, nationalism, and democracy. These three ideas are connected by the idea of “power of the people”, and the fact that they brought people together. In the Enlightenment, people looked for ways to share discoveries and learn new ideas. Common ideas that people had spread amongst communities during the Enlightenment because of the eagerness they had regarding their education. Nationalism brought people together because of the shared love everyone had for their country. Pride in their nation, the shared value of patriotism, and loyalty was what brought citizens together to enforce nationalism in their country. Democracy relates to the Enlightenment and nationalism because this form of government brings people together and enforces the power among them. Democracy, being a type of government that ensures power among the common people and social equality, has a connection with the ideas of the Enlightenment and nationalism. All of these three ideas create a bond between common people and enforce equal power among the citizens of a community.

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