Enlightenment Writers: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry


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The central ideas of the Enlightenment writers were similar to, yet very
different from, those of the writers of earlier periods. Four major
Enlightenment writers were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson,
and Patrick Henry.
     Their main purpose was to write to educate and edify and not so much as
to write for aesthetic purposes. Most of their work was designed to convey
truth or give sound instruction on such issues of political, social, or economic
interest as Benjamin Franklin's “The Way to Wealth.”
     The writers of the Enlightenment or, better put, die Aufklarung conveyed
the ideas of freedom, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom
from oppression, and the intellectual freedom that every man has a right to
whether it be oppressed by political or religious issues which were, at the time,
basically the same since the church and state were still one.
     The Enlightenment writers pushed forward their ideas and beliefs that
all men should be educated and have the ability to read so that they might learn
more and rise higher, socially and politically which would lead to self
betterment.
     Enlightenment writers and pre-Enlightenment writers were similar in the
way that they tried to convey reason and learning. They differed of the premise
of the techniques of writing. The pre-Enlightenment writers were mostly made up
of the educated class of clergy and the upper class, who would afford to go to
school. The clergy wrote mainly for the purposes of the church, such as

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transcribing books or writing works on God or religion. The upper-class writers
would be of the nobility, so they would usually write for aesthetic purposes or
to write essays to impress their peers.
     Many great ideas were presented and defended by the Enlightenment
writers which were similar yet different from writers form earlier periods.


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