Essay on The Age of Reason

Essay on The Age of Reason

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Aime Cesaire’s essay deals with the European hypocrisy that has existed for many years throughout European history. Cesaire studied liberal ideas that had sprouted in the Enlightenment period or the Age of Reason, a time where many new ideas sprang up. Reason was used to guide the actions of people and nations; no longer was religion the main force. Science became extremely important because it provided answers to questions. With the Enlightenment came ideas of liberalism. Before the Age of Reason monarchies governed the people. There was great poverty and a disparity between the classes of people; the people were disillusioned. People wanted change and the Enlightenment provided ideas of liberalism. The people wanted the rights they deserved as people. This age inspired the creation of the Declaration of Independence in the United States and in France the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen; it inspired other countries to fight for their rights. These ideas in Europe claimed that the individual has the right to freedom, civil liberties, and the right to govern themselves; this is what liberalism is all about. The Age of Reason pushed industrialization, technological innovation, into the scene. Industrialization started in the late eighteenth century with Britain giving it a 50 year technological advantage and it spread to the rest of Europe. What Industrialization did was give those industrialized countries great advantages over non-industrialized countries in military, transportation and communication. For example, the cotton gin machine allowed for a greater output of cotton than ever done manually. The idea of the assembly line allowed for greater productivity which allowed for a faster production of weapons. T...


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... When the people wanted to become civilized like the white man wanted by getting roads and ports the Europeans would deny them roads and ports. These people who claimed wanted to civilize them was hindering them from doing so; and these atrocious acts they committed against these non-white people dehumanized the colonizer. Aime Cesaire had every reason to think that capitalism was in short a devil. When Hitler tried to conquer European countries, the European countries became outraged but his actions. What Hitler did to them was the same thing the other Western Europeans did to non-European people. The only reason they were outraged was because it was being done to them. (Aime Cesaire 36) Imperialism and colonization has had lasting consequences because of the notion of superiority white man helped foster racism which still exists today although at a smaller scale.


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