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Enlightenment - Essay Example

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ople realized the need of societal reforms hence challenging the authority exercised by traditional institutions such as the Catholic Church whose influence was deeply and widely rooted in society.
Philosophers who influenced people’s thinking and reasoning through their work during The Enlightenment included: , John Locke, Francis Bacon, René Descartes and Isaac Newton among others (Perry, 2013). The era of enlightenment coincided with the scientific revolution led by Isaac Newton (NatilusMaker, n.d.). Literacy increased as a result of people deviating from religious texts and instead embracing new ideas especially from publications by philosophers. According to Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher who strongly opposed idealism, The Enlightenment was a manifestation of the schism that was greatly influenced by Martin Luther (Carey, 2015).
The Enlightenment also takes into account the inclination of people towards democracy that was vigorously fought for in the 16th Century. It was influenced by the desire of Protestants to break away from the Catholic Church (Perry, 2013). Initially, democracy was only enjoyed by the elite class until the 19th Century when the emergence of political movements necessitated democratic citizenship. These moves contributed to what is seen today as freedom of speech. Formation of political parties to fight for human rights began as early as the 1500s. By the 1600s, political representation had taken course leading to the development of binding political instruments such as Habeas Corpus Act (1679).
Colonization is yet another factor that contributes to The Enlightenment. America for instance was colonized by Europeans who had also settled in other parts of the world. By the 16th Century, competition to venture into new territories by colonies had become immense. It is only after American Revolutionary in 1783 that America gained independence and developed their first constitution in 1788 (Perry, 2013). Many other colonized ...Show more


Historians argue that it stretches through the 21st Century given the ever-changing nature of society. This period is characterised by philosophical,…
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