During the Enlightenment era, a period that lasted between the 17th and 18th centuries, European countries began associating with new methods of inquiry. There was a return to the classics, as well as a passion for reason over religion. The big idea was that there were no limits to human understanding, and that all humans are good and equal in nature. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, an article written by the National Assembly, is a prime example of an enlightenment text, for in seventeen simple articles, it expresses the basic rights of man and citizens. The first article states, “men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.” During enlightenment, it was believed that all humans are good people, although there was always room for improvement.
This idea relates to article one, for article one proclaims that social distinctions are determined solely on how a person you are. Article two states, “the aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression.” Enlightenment thinkers believed that before the law, people have rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness, which is directly represented in article two.
The last article which truly exemplifies enlightenment ideas is article ten, which states, “no one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law. During enlightenment, people believed that there should be a separation between church and state. Article thirteen is a perfect example of this idea, proving that The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was an enlightenment- based text.
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