Enlightenment Philosophes Dbq

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During the late 17th-18th century Enlightenment, people began to question the norms that had previously blindly accepted. Philosophes emerged, trying to find new ways to understand and improve their society. Using observation and reason, these philosophes uncovered natural laws of existence - patterns in nature and human behavior that could be used to understand the truth of all things and could improve human activities. All four of the Enlightenment philosophers emphasized people’s personal freedom in choosing their own political, religious, economic, and societal alignments, as long as in attaining their natural rights, people didn’t infringe on others’, because in doing so, they will benefit the whole society. According to John …show more content…

The different religions confide in one another and perform tasks as a whole, like they were of the same backgrounds. Voltaire recommended that England apply this idea to their own society and politics because when there is a “multitude [of religions, the people] live happy and in peace.” (Doc B) He explained that allowing only one religion would make England tyrannical, and allowing just two would cause extreme conflict between religions, so the government should tolerate and encourage many different religious beliefs. According to Voltaire, this religious freedom would benefit the people on two fronts: in giving them a right to choose, and in making their society more advanced and efficient by allowing numerous perspectives on influential matters and preventing violent belief clashes. Adam Smith, an Enlightenment economist, advocated for a laissez-faire approach to the economy, leaving the citizens the right to control their economic system. He recommended that the government deregulate trade and allow people to be “perfectly free to pursue his own interest in his own way.” (Doc C) Since people work for their own benefit, Smith argued that the workers, while striving for their own economic gain, would ultimately benefit the entire society, “led by an invisible hand,” (Doc C) which would equate the supply and demand of the free market. By giving people the right to decide how the

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