The Freedom of Man
The Age of Enlightenment swept across Europe in the 18th century. This time period was also known as the Age of Reason. This time period represented a cultural shift of political power. Several philosophers, also known as intellectuals opposed the idea of rule of the people by authoritarian monarchies. They sought to reform society from this traditional rule to a way of using reason to govern the people. Two of these important intellectuals were John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. John Locke wrote Two Treatises on Government and Rousseau wrote The Social Contract. The theme of these two intellectuals’ theories was the freedom of man, equality and the individual’s rights. These theories of freedom, equality and rights by the common people were radical ideas and thought at this time. However, Locke and Rousseau’s writings greatly influenced other philosophers and the common people. Still these two philosophers differed in their ideas. John Locke pushed more for the individual’s rights and freedom. Rousseau concentrated more on the idea of the equality of the people to ensure a just society. In the end, each of these theories were tested and ultimately resulted in different outcomes in revolution for England and France and forever changed how people in a society are governed. John Locke (1632-1704) was a British philosopher. He expressed that men were free due the state of nature, that all men were essentially born good. In Two Treaties on Government he wrote, “Man being born, has been proved with a title to perfect freedom and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all rights and privileges of law of nature, equally with any other man…(Locke, p. 154). He also wrote, “The freedom of man, liberty of acting according to his own will, is grounded on his having reason, which is able to instruct him in the law he is govern himself by, and make him know how far he is left to the freedom of his own will.” (Locke, p. 151) Locke believed that each...
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