The Enlightenment had a huge impact on society. The world before the Enlightenment must have been horrible. Just imagining a world where there is no liberty and as a women be almost a slave and the government taking advantage. All four philosophers have their mind set on different problems that society is dealing with, whether it's religion, economy, nature law, or women’s freedom. The one thing they all have in common is freedom.
Questioning, researching and trying to learn more is a method that improves the individual, their society and future societies. A superior example of this is the Age of Enlightenment. This was a period of time, during the late 17th and 18th century in Europe, when people were questioning traditional ways of living and knowing. The Enlightenment was a time that emphasized individualism and reason in place of tradition. This was also when people questioned religious, economic and social issues, especially the philosophers.
Imagine a time where your actions, decisions, and thoughts were controlled by a government, and those ideas were strictly enforced. This was what it was like before the Enlightenment Era, and when this happened, it changed the world forever. The Enlightenment Era was a time period where many different types of people came together to challenge ideas from the time, and think of new ideas that would change the world. There are many people that created new and revolutionary ideas, but the ideas of Wollstonecraft, Locke, Smith, and Voltaire share a common overall idea: freedom and equality. The main ideas of Wollstonecraft, Locke, Smith, and Voltaire are similar because they talk about how every individual should have freedom in society, and that everyone is equal.
The Age of Enlightenment lasted from the 1620s to the 1780s, and was a period of time where many great thinkers emphasized individual freedoms and logical reasoning. Enlightenment challenged many prominent organizations, such as the Roman Catholic Church and some governmental organizations. One Enlightenment thinker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Voltaire), thought that “government should be responsible for the people and supply to them freedom and happiness. The people thus agree to be governed on such terms1”. Voltaire believed that the government should cater to the people’s needs, and not control its citizens and take away their freedoms.
The Enlightenment in Europe is considered to have taken place in the 18th century, however the ideas that were brought forth in this period had started much earlier as people began to look at things like science and explorations long before. Before this period, most Europeans did not think on their own and instead listened to others, such as monarchies and churches, on what they should believe. They mainly listened to what they were told by the monarchy and churches because if they were to go against them, especially the monarchy, they would certainly be killed. This way of thinking changed for the Europeans once they actually studied the sciences of the world around them instead of just accepting what they were told. This went on to lead to the European Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment Philosophers were brilliant people who did things that changed the world. The Enlightenment is a story about four philosophers who each had a different story and background. Their main idea was to say what needed to change and happen because of what they believed in. The Philosophers main idea is that they all believe in individual rights and they want to make things right about what they believe was right. John Locke talks about how the state of nature and government worked during his time.
(1) “The movement known as the Enlightenment included writers living at different times in carious countries. Its early exponents, the philosophes, popularized the rationalism and scientific ideas of the 17th century. They exposed contemporary social and political abuses and argued that reform was necessary and possible.” (The Heritage of World Civilizations). This led to tremendous rethinking of religious and moral matters as well as scientific theory.
Historically, no time of great knowledge has ever resulted in a world unchanged from how it existed previously. I believe that this rings true in the Enlightenment and the effect it had on the world in sparking the American and French Revolutions. The influx of new ideas and a general unhappiness with the way governments, power, and social classes had existed were bound to lead to an eventual revolt within the populations of eighteenth century France and the new American colonies. The Enlightenment, a period of innovative western thought and culture, would ignite the fire that burned within those yearning for a revolution in the obsolete, medieval views of the world.
A Whole New World The intellectual movements of the Enlightenment and the Reformation periods of time changed society through its numerous worldviews including defying the traditions of the pre-established thoughts of the past. This adjustment in worldview impacted society forever through its many views including religion, humanism and overall intellectual freedom. The Protestant Reformation was the sixteenth century religious, political, intellectual and cultural movement that spread across Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would later define the modern era.
The Enlightenment changed the way governments were formed. People were ruled by the government and were not given rights. People were controlled with fear and treated like animals. It led to people questioning and searching for answers which led to the age of reasons. The Enlightenment was the period that philosophers questioning how the government ruled their countries.