Dbq The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment was the time period that followed the Scientific Revolution and was characterized as the "Age of Reason". This was the time when man began to use his reason to discover the world around him rather than blindly follow what the previous authority, such as the Church and Classical Philosophers, stated to be true. The Enlightenment was a tremendously broad movement that dominated much of the European thinking during the 18th century, however, several core themes that epitomized the movement were the idea of progress, skepticism against the Church, and individualism.
The idea of progress, specifically the perfectibility of man and society, was a pivotal theme in the Age of Enlightenment that also tied in with the focus on education …show more content…

The incredulity primarily revolved around the skepticism of religious doctrine, the institutionalized church, and government authority. What the philosophes believed during the Enlightenment was a sharp departure from much of the traditional social thinking which led to skepticism against previous authority, such as the Church, as well as what it stated to be true. Baron d' Holbach in the System of Nature (Document 3) revealed that the Enlightened man is someone who thinks for himself, therefore, should not hold the so called truths by the Church authority and Classical philosophers to be true. Holbach conveyed that to not base truths upon those of the supposed authority because it has been frequently proven incorrect. This ties into what Lester G. Crocker stated in The Age of Enlightenment (Document 4) that philosophes believed that the proper business of churches was only the salvation of souls. To consider what the Church stated to be true in science, government, or economics is mistaken. Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws (Document 8) described the process of Check and Balances which in simpler terms is the sharing of power in the government. He paraded against institutions with absolute monarchical powers such as the Church because they could create and enforce tyrannical laws. …show more content…

Specifically, the idea that man is endowed with certain liberties that were granted by God and/or nature was advocated by the Enlightenment thinkers. Many people took aim at arbitrary governments and the “divine right of kings.” John Locke in return offered principles of constructing a constitutional government, a contract between rulers and the ruled. In Document 7, John Locke in The Two Treatises of Government stated that men consent to enter society in order to preserve their natural rights such as life, liberty, and property. The government should protect people's natural rights and if not, then the people can remove their consent because the government derives its power from the consent of the people. John Locke wrote during the time period of the Enlightenment; therefore, his thoughts were based on the emerging idea of individualism furthermore man's inherent rights and powers. Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence (Document 9) that are all men are created equal and that they are endowed with certain natural rights. The Declaration of Independence was written because of England's tyrannical rule over the American colonies thus, the citizens felt that their natural rights were being abused by the English government. Individualism was indeed formed in response to the skepticism of the Church as

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