Jean-Jacques Rousseau demonstrates how the ideals of society were changing when he states "I shall be asked if I am a prince or legislator, to write on politics. I answer that I am neither, and that is why I do so. Only the nobles or other high officials were allowed to participate in politics.
His reply to that answer shows that the Enlightenment thinkers believed they had the same rights as anyone else to participate in politics and government. The Enlightenment thinkers wanted everyone to have the same political rights. The views of the Enlightenment thinkers had the common good, or what was good for all people, as one of their priorities. The common good is what is best for a society as a whole, not just for a few people or the individual or group that is acting.
The common good is built upon equality. It is meant to ensure the welfare of all people regardless of social class. Abbe Sieyes says "Inequalities of wealth or ability are like the inequalities of age, sex, size, etc. In no way do they detract from the equality of citizenship. However, at the time of the Enlightenment, most things that a nation did only benefited the few people in the upper classes.
This probably drove the Enlightenment thinkers to feel contempt for those people in power. The Enlightenment thinkers knew that they should have an equal say in the government.
But only the upper classes ruled, and they were unfair to the lower classes of people. This system did not make sense, because the lower classes were the majority of the people and did most of the work. The system that was in place created a hostility towards the upper classes. Sieyes says of the upper classes, "It is impossible to say what place the two privileged orders ought to occupy in the social order: The new governments that arose from these revolutions were more in touch with the needs of the people than their monarchial predecessors had been.
The revolutionaries had so much bitterness towards those people with the power, that they went over the edge and treated those in power the same way they had been treated. These changes, however, allowed the common people much more freedom to do as they pleased, gave the common people more of a say in politics and also broke down some of the walls that separated the classes.
Voltaire agreed that the upper classes and had too much power. He depicts those people from the upper two classes as being cruel and unjust. In Candide, Voltaire describes what happens to Candide when he is found kissing the daughter of a Baron when he says "The Baron of Thunder-ten-tronck came around the partition and, seeing this cause and effect, drove Candide out of the castle with great kicks in the behind. The Baron did not think that Candide deserved to be with his daughter because he was of a lower class.
Voltaire thought that the barriers between classes were unfair. This was part of the reason the thinkers of the Enlightenment wanted to break down social barriers and grant more freedom to all people. They freedom that the people of the Enlightenment wanted, allowed them to pursue new fields of learning and broaden their knowledge. This led to many new advancements in the sciences. In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is able to pursue the studies he wants, depending on what he feels like getting involved in at the time.
He says "In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics, and the branches of study appertaining to that science, as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration. The fields of science were rapidly advancing, because of the new freedom that was part of the cause of the Enlightenment thinkers. But, along with the new rights and freedoms people were to be acquiring, there would be new duties that they would also have.
With the new privileges the people would have, they would have more responsibilities. If there are to be elected officials, for instance, then the people have to be informed and vote. To some people, having this responsibility is a heavy burden.
That is why it is hard to get people today to go out and vote. Also, for the common good of everyone, people would sometimes have to sacrifice things that they want or need. Leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were considered paragons of Enlightenment thought, and the freedom-loving religious rationalism of their ideas helped to lay the foundations of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
The Enlightenment also bred religious controversy. Many of its advocates, many of whom were themselves Christian, often dismissed the new revivalist religion of the Great Awakening as emotionally excessive. Evangelical Protestants, on the other hand, often viewed rationalism, religious tolerance, and other enlightenment ideals as dangerous to piety and national solidarity in the budding republic. Historians have usually cast this controversy in terms of a conflict between those who favored rational religion and those who opposed them by defending an emotional religion of the heart.
But the Enlightenment was so pervasive in the colonies that few Americans remained wholly untouched by its spirit. Both the emotionalism of revivalist religion and the reasoned ideals associated with the Enlightenment played important roles in the American Revolution.
Revolutionaries were drawn from all religious camps and most of them shared a common commitment to freedom of religion. Most—though certainly not all—revolutionaries, however, fought not for religious freedom for all, but rather for their particular sects or denominations.
Nonetheless, the impact of the Revolution and the subsequent adoption of the Constitution on American Christianity cannot be overstated. This period laid the foundation for a bold experiment in religious freedom unlike any understandings of state-religion relations at the time.
- Science vs the Enlightenment vs Politics This essay argues that the Enlightenment is the most important concept among the three given in the title. The Age of Enlightenment was a period in early modern history when western societies, led by its intellectuals, made a marked shift from religion based authority to one of scientific reason.
Mar 06, · The Enlightenment was a period of much intellectual and social growth. The way people looked at the world changed. During the Enlightenment, people started to believe that all men were free people.
The Enlightenment Essay The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which took place in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As a historical category, the term "Enlightenment" refers to a series of changes in European thought and letters. The Enlightenment encouraged several revolutions and helped governments. It influenced the American Revolution and then the French revolutions. The Enlightenment was an 18th century European movement in which thinkers attempted to apply the principals of reason and scientific method to all aspects /5(6).
The Age of Enlightenment Essay Words 9 Pages The Enlightenment was a period in the eighteenth century where change in philosophy and cultural life took place in Europe. Enlightenment essay, - Web assign help. We carefully choose writers to employ, paying attention to their skills and abilities.