The Importance Of The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment has been held responsible for a variety of critical moments in Western history, such as the French Revolution, European Imperialism, and extreme capitalism. Despite these outcomes, the Enlightenment presented some of the most exceptional and influential writers who were aware of their distinguishable talents and possessed a great degree of historical awareness. Without the Enlightenment, or more specifically, the philosophes that fostered the Enlightenment, the contemporary Western world would not have the same fundamental liberal freedoms and rights (freedom of religion, speech, the press, expression, basic human rights) that are enjoyed today. Fundamentally, the foundations of contemporary freedoms in the Western world can…show more content…
Perhaps one of the most important individuals during the early Enlightenment was John Locke (1632-1704), an English philosopher who later yielded a significant degree of influence on the American Declaration of Independence and on contemporary American public life. He initially articulated his theories in his Two Treatises of Government. Locke’s Second Treatise eventually manifested into the classic expression of early liberalism. Locke was a state of nature theorist, referring to the utilization of a thought exercise used by other individuals, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes, to explain life before formal society. The concepts of life, liberty, and property are most closely associated with Locke. Many of Locke’s works are still widely indulged in and studied; however, the two documents that will be analyzed are A Letter Concerning Toleration and Two Treatises of…show more content…
He is against monarchies possessing the right to determine the religion of the state. Locke’s Letter provided leeway for the freedom of religion in seventeenth-century Europe, which is the freedom of the individual to rest his or her faith with the religion of his or her choice. Locke does not reject Christianity; however, he does critique organized religion from the commencement of the letter. Locke writes, “I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true church.” His critique continues with the recognition that Christians are often more occupied with the opinions of other religious group, as opposed to enforcing the elements that the Bible denunciates. Locke believes that an authentic Christian must show tolerance for other perspectives. He goes on to urge that a true Christian must “follow the perfect example of that Price of Peace, who sent out his soldiers to the subduing of nations, and gathering them into his Church, not armed with the sword, or other instruments of force, but prepared with the Gospel of peace and with the exemplary holiness of their conversation.” Converting someone to Christianity through the use of persuasion, rather than the use of violence and force, is the acceptable way to do so. Beyond the religious context, this simply means that using reason is the most effective way to shape another’s
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