Values Of The Enlightenment Period

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ID 198624 Humanities 2341 February 8, 2012 Values The principle values found in the Declaration of Independence are equality, freedom, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The major premise of the Declaration of Independence opposed an unruly government. Jefferson’s second paragraph states that all men are equal according to the rights that were given by God and to protect those rights the people should establish a government that served the interest of the people. During the Enlightenment there was “an absolute opposition to cruel legal procedures and arbitrary government.” (Enlightenment Values Matrix 3) Philosophers of the Enlightenment wanted to create a secular utopia, where people had the right to oppose an unfair government and speak freely. One way was the idea of a Social Contract; an agreement by which human beings are said to have abandoned the "state of nature" in order to form the society in which they live. The Declaration of Independence is an example of such a social contract. Locke believed that governments were formed to protect the natural rights of men, and that overthrowing a government that did not protect these rights was not only a right, but also an obligation. Jefferson highly believed in what the philosophers of the Enlightenment expressed. The Enlightenment was a movement of intellectuals who were greatly impressed with the achievements of the Scientific Revolution. One of the beliefs of these intellectuals was reason, by which they meant the application of the scientific method to the understanding of all life. They believed that institutions and all systems of thought were subject to the rational scientific way of thinking if people would only free themselves from past worthless traditions, especially religious ones. Hence, superiority of science over religion became a value during the Enlightenment period.
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