The Progress Of The Human Race Was One Of The Major Focuses

1425 WordsMar 2, 20176 Pages
The progress of the human race was one of the major focuses of the Enlightenment movement. A majority of the philosophes wrote on how progress can be achieved, however, the philosophes had some differing ideas on how progress was gained and measured. One conclusion reached was the idea of the commerce, leisure, and cultivation cycle. The cycle depicts the concept of in order to make humanity move forward people need to have basic needs provided and have time to ponder ideas of life. The writings of David Hume, Adam Smith, and Marquis de Condorcet display the concept of the commerce, leisure, and cultivation cycle, while also showing how the cycle could initially propel the wealthy while leaving the poor behind. The initial focus is put on…show more content…
Along with human progress, ideas about class division can be extracted from Hume’s essay “On Luxury.” Hume briefly addresses the ideas of classes, however, he takes time to discuss how higher polished societies have different class structures than their non-polished counterpart societies. “We shall find that a progress in the arts is rather favorable to liberty and has a natural tendency to preserve, if not produce, a free government. In rude, unpolished nations… the whole society is divided into two classes, proprietors of land and their vassals or tenants,” (Hume pg. 495). In the previous statement, Hume presents an argument that the study of liberal arts is necessary for a free government. Liberal arts promotes more support of the individual and more polished people generally strive for more open governments. Despite the potential for more free government, it takes a sizeable amount of time for the poor to see the benefit of the cycle. Since the working class cannot devote as much time to leisurely activities, they do not see the initial benefits the wealthy see. Due to increased commerce and the subsequent increase in leisure, society is pushed forward; however, the wealthy see the benefits much faster than the lower classes of society who have to wait for cultivation to occur. Adam Smith, the father of the economic concept of capitalism, wrote on a wide variety of topics in his life.
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