Essay on the Enlightenment Period: How Does Enlightenment Change People


The Enlightenment period was a philosophical period that followed the dark middle ages and it is a big part of our history. Before the Enlightenment period, people thought that things that were unexplainable happened because of an outside force. There are many people in this period who have reshaped the way people thought. One important person in this period is John Locke. John Locke is an English philosopher who paved the path to many discoveries and advancements that occur later in the Enlightenment period.  The Enlightenment would not be the same if not for John Locke’s discoveries.   

John Locke was born on August 29th, 1632 in Somerset England.  His father was a lawyer and served in the military in the English civil war. Because his father had close ties with the government, he got a good education. Locke’s parents were Puritans, so he was placed into this religion as well. John Locke graduated with a bachelor’s degree and then after he studied medicine. Locke met Lord Ashley and they became close. After some time of Lord Ashley and Locke talking, he persuaded Locke to move to London to be his personal doctor. John Locke gained power into the government because of Lord Ashley and that made him a target to the government. The king attempted to assassinate Locke, but it was unsuccessful and as a result, Locke was kicked out of England in 1683. After being exiled Locke went to Holland where he made a book “An Essay about human understanding”. About five years later, John Locke arrived back in England after the king had fled because of the opposite party rising to power. Locke died because of his very sensitive health on October 28, 1704.  

John Locke has made many contributions to the world throughout his life. Locke’s second treatise largely influenced the making of the Declaration of independence in America. Locke wrote about his outlook on the state of nature stating that everyone has free will and that every man is equal. Another thing written in the treatise was that if people follow the law, they will get privileges and people could revolt against the king or leader if they wanted. John Locke wrote about how all people should benefit from the rights that everyone is born with. A difference between one of Locke’s ideas and the Declaration of Independence is that people are created equal.

Locke stated ideas of things being self-evident like “blue is not red” and “a man is a man” which does not have the words that are very vital to what the Declaration of Independence needs to say. John Locke’s political views led to the philosophical viewpoints in the Declaration of Independence and it was thought that Thomas Jefferson was very familiar with what John Locke wrote. Thomas Jefferson believed, as did John Locke, in three rights that should not be able to be taken away: life, liberty, and property. Overall, Locke’s contributions formed a basis for the other philosopher’s works in the Enlightenment Period and to the development to Britain and the United States. 

One of John Locke’s biggest contributions to the world was in influencing the Declaration of Independence. John Locke wrote about how people have rights from birth even if they aren’t associated with the government. He wrote in his second treatise if the people followed the law then they will get some privileges. The people could also revolt against the king.  His influence gave basic rights to people and made it so that people could have more freedoms when it came to basic living. One can see this today in America because the government system allows the people to vote for the president and other elected officials as well as vote them out. Also, Locke wrote about every human having equality. 

More today than in the past one can see people of different races or genders being equal and powerful. One big event that is very important in our history is when Barack Obama became the first African American president of the United States of America in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.  Another example of this is the right for women to vote in America. Even though Locke was only referring to the male gender when speaking in his treatise it helped with people becoming more equal. What he wrote put the thought of everyone being equal in most people’s minds which helped with the creation of the Voting Act on August 26, 1920.  That same year that the act was passed eight million women voted for the first time ever in the United States of America. Before this act it was strictly prohibited for women to vote to elect a leader. Today many women vote it helps sway the results in the end who gets elected to be the president. John Locke affected more people than he thought when he was writing his treatise. 

John Locke was a philosopher in the Enlightenment Period who helped make a base for the rest of the philosophers in the Enlightenment Period. Locke wrote about his thoughts in books and made many treatises. His treatises helped with equal rights in Britain and America they made people think

 

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