French Revolution Dbq Analysis

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English thinker, John Locke, perfectly stated, “(W)e must consider, what state all men are naturally in…a state of perfect freedom to order their actions” (Document A). During the 1600s and 1700s, revolutionary thinkers and writers defended the “perfect freedom[s]” of individual citizens to express their self-determination and freewill to choose. This tumultuous period of history was fraught with conflict. The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution brought an end to England’s absolute monarchy in the 1680s, and the French Revolution from 1789 to 1799 drastically changed the political and societal makeup of France. These conflicts spurred thinkers such as Locke, Voltaire, Adam Smith, and Mary Wollstonecraft to promote the personal freedoms …show more content…
Locke was a vocal supporter of the freedoms of equality and the protection of democratic government. In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Locke stated that “there [is] nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank…should also be equal” (Document A). This idea of equality among citizens was important in promoting acceptance and fairness in English society after the adoption of a constitutional monarchy. In addition, Locke believed that, “When the government is dissolved, the people are at liberty to provide for themselves, by erecting a new legislative[ure]” (Document A). This revolutionary idea of overthrowing a failing government greatly influenced the American colonists in their revolt against Great Britain, and is evidenced in the Declaration of Independence. Similar to Locke, Voltaire believed that the freedom of religion promoted peace and equality. He believed that, “If one religion only were allowed in England, the government would very possibly become arbitrary…but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace” (Document B). With many religions conducting business and trading ideas, it is impossible for one entity to dominate. The concept of the personal freedom to exercise one’s own religion is as essential to the success of society as the freedom to protect and preserve the

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