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History Enlightenment - Thomas Hobbes

Essay by   •  April 17, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,150 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,215 Views

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Starting in the 1500's, European thinkers overturned old ideas about the physical world with a new approach to science. Thinkers of the Enlightenment hoped to use reason to make a better society in which people were free. Enlightenment ideas spread throughout Europe. They had a profound effect in North America, forming the basis of the new government of the United States. New ways of thinking arose in a lot of the surrounding areas. Thinkers tried to apply reason and scientific method to laws that shaped human actions. Between the book and the articles there were several individual that had a huge impact on the creation of the Enlightenment. A few aspects of the Enlightenment were the government, the way society has changed, and the way science was incorporated into the changes. Also the way religion was talked about and the way it was reformed. Within the next few paragraphs I am going to talk about a few people that were important within the Enlightenment. I am going to talk about Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher that wrote Leviathan. There was a lot of debate about why you would go so far to telling people that without a government there will be a war of everyman against everyman. Basically saying that every man will fight for what they want unless we come up with an agreement that states we give up our rights so we can be secure and safe. "Absolute authority could be vested in either a king or a parliament; it had to be absolute" (Hunt et al, pg 504). One problem I see would be after they came up with an agreement the people lost all control and were not allowed to have a say in choices. Hobbes says "I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of power after power that ceased only in death" (Hobbes, pg 54). This presents an argument that men need to have constant feel of power. Hobbes then goes to say that instead of having everyone starts fights with everyone why don't we just come to agreement and have one authority. However, giving one person complete authority wasn't a good decision, because it turned out that that person gained less respect because no one wanted to listen and follow those rules that were created. Hobbes talks about when you take everything away from men, you will also take away their happiness and well-being. If I were a man in this time I would feel like I couldn't have a life because every move I made had to be approved by the man in control.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was a big movement in the Enlightenment because they got rid of the old rules and came up with new ones that proposed equality towards everyone. "The Declaration granted freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equality of taxation and equality before the law" (Hunt, pg 595). Along with what the book talks about most of the individuals that were involved were from French population. All these changes shifted into the Enlightenment, they were coming up with new "laws" and saying that "men are

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