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The Enlightenment Movement Essay

971 words - 4 pages

The 18th-century Enlightenment was an era that symbolized the desire to change social order of Europe citizens. The Church was thought to have been the source of truth and condemned any person that went against it, but people were beginning to think separately and independently from the Church. Thinkers of the Enlightenment provided new ideas based on reason, science, and valued humanity. In addition, writers of the Enlightenment intended to alter the relationship of people and government. Although many welcomed the Enlightenment, five movements reacted against the ideas of the era. Conservatism was a reaction against the Enlightenment because it reflected ideas based on tradition and ...view middle of the document...

He asserted that, “the bill of rights was for the men who wrote and the people of England should have no parts in it” (Burke, Paras. 25-29).
The ideals of Liberalism were based on the belief that there should be equal opportunities for everyone afforded by set laws (as long as they remained individual). Liberalists stressed the importance of maintaining a system of government that served as an entity to create and enforce laws. Because of the aforementioned, it is safe to say that the parties of this movement desired a group of law makers who represented dominant groups. Economic Liberalism was included in the realm of the movement and to elaborate on the ideas, Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, in 1776. In this publication Smith promoted free trade, which was the reverse of mercantilism. Liberalism catered to those in the middle class however, ideas the Enlightenment were meant to encompass everyone and increase prosperity. As the lower class became more privy to information, it provided more opportunities to learn and increase knowledge and wealth.
Nationalism represents a political creed in which the people offer their supreme allegiance to a nation-state. It underlies the cohesion of modern societies and legitimizes a nation's assertions of authority over the lives of its inhabitants (encyclopedia.com). This definition clarifies how the nationalist ideologies were a reaction against the Enlightenment. The rationale behind the Enlightenment was to change the relationship between the people and their government, not enhance it; however, the principles of the Enlightenment did have effects on Nationalism, during its early stages. The Enlightenment promoted equality of all nationalities and religions, as well as rational in knowledge. Nationalism allowed countries to be patriotic (in terms of its best aspect), and in the same instance caused wars and evoked racial divide of certain national groups that were governed by foreign countries. The ideologies of Nationalism became the movement that caused countries to become both exclusive and separate.
“It is the aim of Socialism to transfer the means of production from...

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