The Enlightenment Movement

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The 18th-century Enlightenment was an era that symbolized the desire to change social order of Europe citizens. The Church was thought to have been the source of truth and condemned any person that went against it, but people were beginning to think separately and independently from the Church. Thinkers of the Enlightenment provided new ideas based on reason, science, and valued humanity. In addition, writers of the Enlightenment intended to alter the relationship of people and government. Although many welcomed the Enlightenment, five movements reacted against the ideas of the era. Conservatism was a reaction against the Enlightenment because it reflected ideas based on tradition and hierarchy. The ideas of Liberalism were built on the foundation of the Enlightenment but began to mimic middle class values. The followers of Nationalism became excessively dedicated to the viewpoints of their nation. The socialist movement was a reaction against the Enlightenment because as it progressed it took on the resemblance of Nationalism. Lastly is the movement of romanticism and unlike the Enlightenment, this movement rejected natural science. Conservatism was a political and social movement, it embraced tradition and any change that came about was minimal. “Conservatives detested attempts to transform society according to a theoretical model. They considered human nature too intricate and social relations too complex for such social engineers,” (Perry, pg 532). As the world continued to advance in science and religious and human views, conservatives were unwilling to recognize the need for fundamental changes, especially those changes that affected tradition, faith and natural law. The reluctance towards changes in society was an oppos... ... middle of paper ... ...s a movement that attempted to introduce new ways of thinking, views of nature and religion. However, other movements that rejected the Enlightenment and introduced additional ideologies. Conservatism reacted against the Enlightenment because it was based on tradition and the Enlightenment certainly promoted change. The ideology of liberalism offered political, social, and economic freedoms to the individual, whereas the Enlightenment wanted those freedoms for all. Nationalism was centered on the principle of loyalty to the government and the Enlightenment sought to change the relationship between the people and their government. Socialism was based on economic freedoms for individual and again, the Enlightenment encompassed all people. Lastly is Romanticism, which held the principle of self-awareness as opposed to the awareness of nature, like the Enlightenment.
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