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United States Declaration of Independence Essay

The enlightenment era arose in the modern cultural ideology of the 18th century, as ideas among philosophers had a widespread effect among the society. The age of enlightenment, in western society, projected the rejection of traditional Christianity, western philosophy, intellectual advances, scientific, and cultural life, government legitimacy and authority. Upon the enlightenment period multiple philosophers emerged, the individuals arose to leading figures using reason to understand all aspects of human life.

The motivations for the enlightenment came primarily from the Englishmen, John Locke. John Locke was a philosophical influence in both political theory and theoretical philosophy, which was embraced among the era of 1789-1914 and the concept of equal rights among men. John Locke’s writings influenced the works of multiple diplomats concerning liberty and the social contract between society and the government. Locke’s ideology of man and power was the base for the concept of separation of powers.

As one of the enlightenment thinkers, John Locke wrote the Two Treatises of Government influencing the framework of his ideal vision of the nature of man and his freedom, stating that all men exist in “a state of perfect freedom” as “every man being, has been showed, naturally free. ” (Primary Sources, 156) His theories involved the money value within trading systems, education ideals, the blank mind shaped by surroundings, and the framework for the American Revolution. Locke’s ideas were taken and embraced as his ideas “seemed to offer the hope of a brave new world” built on reason.

” (Spielvogel 516) The enlightenment was an era of intellectual and social growth as people began to challenge and view the world changed. During the era, society began to believe all men are free people, a concept enforced by John Locke’s ideologies. John Locke believed every person was born with tabula rasa, blank mind, arguing in Essay on Human Understanding that men and women, were products of their environment, and implied that humans were molded by their surroundings.

With the theory of the blank mind, John Locke presented with reason and logic that men and women could improve themselves by improving the surroundings. As John Locke rejected “authority and theory… [by] showing knowledge derives from sensory perception and experience…” he impacted western philosophy and the understanding of knowledge. (Primary sources 212) Locke’s idea implied the restructure of society as by changing the environment, men would be properly influenced, and a new society created. The idea of a perfect new society was seen among the creation of the utopian community by Robert Owen.

The idea of men being able to be shaped by the community is seen among Owen’s work to set up the model community. Through his works in A New View in Society Owen shows how the communitarian project achieved “moral improvement with commercial success” with the help of an orderly system to manufacture, and “inculcating the moral virtues of cleanliness, order thrift, and sobriety. ” (Primary Sources 320) Owen was successful in creating the modeled community, with the idea of tabula rasa, and creating a cooperative self-contained community.

The enlightenment employed the right of equality among all men. John Locke advocated natural rights of man, mainly life, liberty, and property. His avocation for men equality included the validity of governments powers should rely on consent from the citizens. The pursuit of representation from government led to the democracy in the America’s as they created the separation of powers. Locke supported the overthrow of absolute power, as he rejects the concept of royal superiority in his Second Treatise of Government.

His belief in mutual consent from the people to the government is the basis of the social contract, showing how man’s “perfect freedom…and liberty [should give man] is able to instruct him in that law he is to govern himself. ” (Primary Sources, 151) Locke’s political ideology included overthrowing government if citizens felt their rights were taken away, citizens had the duty to revolt against the tyrant. This ideology is embraced during the French Revolution as “before the revolution, French society was grounded in the inequality of rights,” among the citizens.

(Spielvogel578) The French were divided into classes, having no voice among the three estates, leading to the national assembly. The national assembly, influenced by John Locke’s ideology of rejecting royal reign superiority, created the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Locke’s argument of revolution against tyranny was accepted to bring reasonable rule to the nation and citizens. The same liberalist view of overthrowing of ruler is seen during the napoleon rule.

Benjamin Constant published The Principles of Politics advocating for the regulations of the generals will of the individuals liberty, “distinguishing between sovereignty, authority, and individual freedom,” right before Napoleon’s final defeat. (Primary Sources 342) Many of John Locke’s ideas were input into the Declaration of Independence, as his primary words “life, liberty” and instead of property, the pursuit of happiness, are the basis of the American Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Locke’s arguments concerning liberty influenced the works of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, as his Second Treatise is imitated in the Declaration of Independence.

When the founding fathers adopted the resolution for the nation’s independence, with the restating of john Locke’s theory of revolution, they opened the door to the war of American Independence. As well as Locke’s separation of powers was framework for the American democracy created after the independence from Britain and the belief of revolting is an obligation in the certain circumstances. With the fear of a concentrated power the founding fathers of America secured the rights life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, to which the government institutes the rights and derive their powers with the consent of the men.

When creating the independence the people laid the foundation of separation of powers in which each branch is checked and has no overruling power among the rest of the government. With the influence of John Locke’s political ideologies, the American colonies, after the American Revolution, “proved to many Europeans that the liberal political ideas of the Enlightenment were not a vapid utterances of intellectuals. The rights of man, ideas of liberty, and equality, popular sovereignty, separation of powers, and freedom of religion…were not only utopian ideals.

” (Spielvogel 578) The Americans had taken John Locke’s theories and made the concept of liberty reality. Consequently the American Revolution had an impact on the French revolution with the returning soldiers the influence of the American Declaration of Independence was seen among the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The French revolution was more violent than the American, but it set the political movement for the modern political world.

John Locke political theories were focused on the protection of the human rights, responsibility of the government, clarifying the concept between state and man. Locke insisted on the limits towards political authorities, and believed government should be selected, not born into, by the will of the majority. This set the fundamental declaration of the French revolution. John Locke an advocate for religious tolerance, wrote the Letters Concerning Toleration, conveying reasoning for religious tolerance after the European wars of religion.

Within the Letters Concerning Toleration, Locke debates for the people to understand the relationship within religion and government, and how people should know the separation of the two. Separation of Church and State was created by Thomas Jefferson, who was greatly influenced by Locke’s writings, as Locke feared that without distinction between the two, the personal beliefs will mislead the commonwealth. His advocacy for religious also influenced the freedom of religion among the Americans in the Bill of Rights, as man has the right to practice or to not practice any religion.

Known for his political theories, notions on natural rights and separation of powers, John Locke also held beliefs regarding the education. Originally a letter to a friend regarding his son’s education, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, Locke suggested the best way to educate the child. His theory for education was based on the argument of human mind at birth is a tabula rasa therefore a child was able to be molded with virtues. “He attentively considers the state of a child… [are] stored with plenty of ideas, that are to be the matter of his future knowledge.

” (Primary Sources 214) Locke’s ideas on education involved learning from experience, and influenced the concern of public education during the 1789-1914 era. His theories and ideas on education would motivate the public school system in Britain. John Locke’s emphasis on education was seen in Robert Owen’s utopian “model community. ” In Owen’s New View of Society he set his influence by Locke’s education, by stating that education was not only good for business in his utopian society, but for the nation as a whole.

The influence of how the importance of education was enforced by Locke’s ideologies of the ability to shape the minds of the children to better the nation. John Locke publicized a theory of money and property in his Two Treatises on Government. Locke’s theory believes the natural right of estate. His belief in money describes that money fulfills the need for a constant measure of value and worth in a trading system. Locke argued for an economic system which could exist in the states and protection of property by the society.

His ideal on a trading system influenced the merchandized 18th century industry. The eighteenth century was formed based on the growth of commercial led by John Locke’s economic system theory on trade. The “growth of commercial capitalism led to integrated markets, joint-stock trading companies, banking and stock exchange facilities,” which shaped the nations view on money. (Spielvogel 564) As the eighteenth century flourished, Locke stated gold, silver, gems never rot, and therefore with the consent of mankind they become of monetary value and are open for trading value.

With his theories of trading and money, John Locke can be seen as the creator of the bourgeois capitalism. The trading system was influenced by John Locke and embraced in the European trading which gave growth of cities, prosperity within the cities, the industrialization, and the manufacturing business. The Enlightenment was period of time with great thinkers bringing radical changes to society and the world. John Locke, known for Father of Liberalism and the enlightenment thinker, had a great impact among philosophers.

John Locke was advocating the freedom of the individual, systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties. Locke’s enlightenment ideas were employed during the long 19th century. “Locke’s treatises inspired the political theories of the Enlightenment. ” (Primary sources 148) His philosophical ideals influenced many other philosophers, utopian societies, the upheavals against government, the protection of rights, the education system in Britain, and the basis for modern government.


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