Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Natural Rights: The Enlightenment

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Natural Rights: The Enlightenment"— Presentation transcript:

1 Natural Rights: The Enlightenment
During the Scientific Revolution, people began to use the scientific method to determine the truth. Scientific Method People should use reason and observe nature to find the truth Shouldn’t rely on superstition or tradition. When thinkers began to apply this method to morals, beliefs, laws, and governments, they developed the idea of “Natural Law”

2 The Age of Enlightenment

3 Also known as “The Age of Reason”
Scientific Revolution paved the way as Natural Laws that applied to nature were now Natural Rights that applied to society. Led to discovery of the world outside of Europe and the Columbian Exchange Enlightened philosophers (aka philosophes in French) and writers

4 Enlightened Philosophers (aka philosophies in French) and Writers

5 Thomas Hobbes The Leviathan published in 1651.
Without government, people would constantly be fighting amongst themselves. Life without government would be "poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The purpose of government is to ensure peace and security through whatever means necessary. Government is a contract between citizens and their ruler. In this contract, citizens give up rights for the guarantee of peace and security. The best government is one in which the ruler has absolute power. People never have the right to rebel. Thomas Hobbes expressed is views in a work called Leviathan (1651). The horrors of the English Civil War convinced him that all humans were naturally selfish and wicked. Without governments to keep order, Hobbes said, “there would be war of every man against every man.” In this state of nature, as Hobbes called it, life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes argued that to escape such a bleak life, people gave up their rights to a strong ruler. In exchange, they gained law and order. Hobbes called this agreement, by which people created government - the social contract. Because people acted in their own self-interest, Hobbes said, the ruler needed total power to keep citizens under control. Hobbes believed that an absolute monarchy was the best government.

6 John Locke Government is a contract between citizens and their rulers.
People have a natural right to life, liberty, and property. The purpose of government is: to protect the rights of life, liberty, and property. to create order in society. Citizens have the right to rebel against a government that does not respect the rights of its citizens. Rulers should stay in power only as long as they have the consent of the people they govern. Locke’s ideas influenced authors of US Declaration of Independence and French revolutionaries in the 1790s. John Locked believed that people could learn from experience and improve themselves. As reasonable beings, they had the natural ability to govern their own affairs and to look after the welfare of society. Locke criticized absolute monarchy and favored the idea of self-government. Locke’s ideas about government are the foundation of modern democracy.

7 Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Every human is born a tabula mind, or blank slate. Nothing is inherited, human knowledge is created by the environment as we experience the world. Foundation for equality We learn from reason By controlling the environment we can create a better world

8 Voltaire François-Marie Arouet
Considered one of the most important of the enlightenment philosophers Prolific writer; His satire Candide is his most famous work. Fought for tolerance, reason, and freedom of thought, expression, and religious belief Twice imprisoned in the Bastille Born in Paris, Voltaire was the son of a lawyer. He received an excellent education but chose not to follow his father into law. Instead, he ended his schooling at age 16 and devoted himself to literary pursuits. He joined a group of irreverent young aristocrats and began to write witty political verses. As a young man, Voltaire got himself into a certain amount of trouble with his writing, but he also managed to meet like-minded people. Through acquaintances with philosophers, artists, and thinkers, and also through his own desire to learn and understand the world, Voltaire became a great thinker.

9 Fought against prejudice and superstition
Deism: system of thought that denies the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe (creates, then backs off). Freedom of thought is most important: "I do not agree with a word you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

10 Baron d’Montesquieu The Spirit of Laws 1748
Advocated separation of powers and checks and balances to keep any individual or group from gaining complete control of the government. One of the greatest influences on the US Constitution. Like Voltaire, Montesquieu believed that Britain was the best-governed country of his own day. He believed that “Power should be a check to power” and he called the division of power among different branches “separation of powers.”

11 Rousseau Swiss philosopher The Social Contract (1762)
Although born good, people are corrupted by society. Government should be a contract between people, not between the people and a ruler. People should give up some freedom in favor of the General Will of the people. People are equal and have a right to individual freedom. All through his life, Rousseau was plagued by feelings of guilt, depression, and inferiority. His attempts to form friendships often failed, and he spent his life as an outsider in society. These difficulties may have been the result of a very unhappy childhood. Rousseau’s mother died giving birth to him. His father made him feel guilty for this and was cold and rejecting toward his son. When Rousseau was ten years old, his father abandoned him. As an adult, Rousseau realized that he was more comfortable opposing society than trying to fit into it.

12 Beccaria Believed laws existed to preserve social order
Advocated a criminal justice system based on fairness and reason Beccaria based his ideas about justice on the principle that governments should seek the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He railed against common abuses of justice such as, torturing of witnesses and suspects, irregular proceedings in trials, and punishments that were cruel. His ideas influenced criminal law reformers in Europe and North America.

13 Adam Smith A Physiocrat: Natural laws govern the economy.
Wrote The Wealth of Nations (1776) Called for the economic freedom of individuals, by keeping the government from interfering in the economy. Believed an “invisible hand” (the law of supply and demand and competition) would guide the economy. Smith’s ideas will be studied more thoroughly in later units.

14 Mary Wollstonecraft Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)
Argued for women’s right to become educated and to participate in politics Believed women, like men, need education to become virtuous and useful. Wollstonecraft received very little formal education. She and her two sisters taught themselves by studying books at home. With her sisters, she briefly ran a school. These experiences shaped her thoughts about education. She died at age 38, after giving birth to her daughter, Mary, who wrote the classic novel Frankenstein.

15 Denis Diderot Spread enlightened thinking in all areas by publishing the Encyclopedia ( ), a 28 volumes of collected knowledge and the new ideas of the Scientific Revolution and the enlightenment First to use an alphabetical format The Encyclopedia was actually a contribution of essays and articles from the different leading scholars of Europe. It would bring together the enlightened thinking about science, technology, art, government, and more. The views expressed in the articles soon angered both the French government and the Catholic Church. Their censors banned the work. They said it undermined royal authority, encouraged a spirit of revolt, and fostered “moral corruption, irreligion, and unbelief.” Fearing arrest, some leading philosophers withdrew from the project and urged Diderot to quit. Diderot pressed on and finally won permission to continue the publishing. New volumes came out regularly under his editorship.

16 How did Enlightenment writers and thinkers set the stage for revolutionary movements?
Encouraged people to judge for themselves what was right or wrong in society Rely on human reason to solve social problems

17 Questions for Discussion:
Voltaire is credited with saying: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.” What does this statement indicate about Voltaire’s views on free speech? How is it similar to beliefs about free speech in the U.S.?

18 Questions for Discussion:
“Man will only truly be free when the last king is strangled with the intestine of the last bishop.” Percy Shelly How is this quote reflective of the attitudes of the enlightenment philosopher?

19 Who’s ideas are most like your own?
Hobbes People are selfish, self-serving, and brutal. Without control, society would be chaotic Locke People are reasonable and able to make decisions. People should be able to rule themselves.

20 1776 In 1776, two famous works were published, Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Jefferson’s work is about man’s political independence and Smith’s is about man’s economic freedom and independence. Which do you think has been the most important to the development of the USA? A citizen’s political or economic freedom? Why?

Download ppt "Natural Rights: The Enlightenment"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google