Age Of Enlightenment DBQ

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After centuries of intolerance and absolutism dominated the European continent and left the majority of its people with few to no rights, living in conditions with little hope to advance themselves as individuals, the cruelty of the Middle Ages finally gave way to a new movement that offered hope for a better life. There have always been great philosophers throughout history, dating back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, but during the Enlightenment, some of the most influential voices including Voltaire, Condorcet, Baron de Montesquieu and John Locke literally changed the course of Western civilization. The Age of Enlightenment represented more than just a collection of thoughts, but formed the fundamental backbone of ideals and principles …show more content…
People were not individually connected to God, other than what was allowed through the church and monarchy. If citizens disagreed with the monarchy’s view of religion, they risked everything from loss of property to execution. But Voltaire, in his Philosophical Dictionary 1764 (Document 1) and his Treatise on Toleration (Document 6), wrote that religious tolerance is an essential element in any society, and that every human is born with natural rights that cannot be controlled or taken by anyone, including a monarch. According to Voltaire, one of the most important natural rights of every man is the right to worship freely and to choose whatever religion he wishes. This type of thinking offered people a way to separate their own religious views from ones that they had been forced to follow. Voltaire went even further than just supporting tolerance; he believed that every human, no matter what religion, including non-Christians, are all children of God, with no one religion more valuable than the other. According to Crocker, in The Age of Enlightenment, 1969 (Document 4) many of the philosophers of this time had very different religious beliefs and backgrounds, but like Voltaire, they all believed that the Church should be there to help people find God and save souls, not to push them down and keep them

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