Classical Liberalism And The Enlightenment

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Paper #1: Classical Liberalism
Classical liberalism is the transition from focusing on government to focusing on the rights of individuals. This transition came about during the time of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. The Enlightenment period was when man started to have more faith in his own reasoning. People began to look for evidence on their beliefs themselves and to find proof on these beliefs, so that they could come up with their own opinions on things. One way that they did this was by going back and rereading Roman and Greek texts and retranslating these texts. This new way of thinking also caused the Protestant Reformation to occur. Some of the most influential Enlightenment writers were John Locke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and the people of France’s National Constituent Assembly. John Locke was one of the most influential writers during the Enlightenment period, and was the first “Enlightenment Thinker”. Locke is the author of the “Two Treatises” and believed that every person was born with “natural rights” such as: life, liberty, and property (Locke). These rights were meant for everyone, and not just the nobility or wealthy. Locke uses references from the Bible throughout the “Two Treatises” stating that “God created man without any state of inferiority” (Locke). This disproves the idea of “Divine Right” given from God that many countries in Europe had been participating in. John Locke also discussed the importance of “The Beginning of
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