The Enlightenment As The Catalyst For The Rise Of Global Uniformities

1497 Words Nov 3rd, 2016 6 Pages
The Enlightenment, the proliferation of rational ideas throughout the 18th Century, has a dualistic political legacy. The paradoxes it produced were liberalism - emphasising political freedom and representation - and authoritarianism, imperialism and independence. Religion, instead of being displaced by reason, remained to influence and reflect the Enlightenment’s political legacies. Kant may stress “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage” from Christianity but secularisation did not occur. Beyond the political dualism that Enlightened individuals either accepted or seemingly rejected religion, religion reinforced Enlightened exploration and colonisation. Bayly cites the Enlightenment as the catalyst for “the rise of global uniformities.” But the Enlightenment’s legacy is more than a historical trend toward uniformity. Rather, the legacy of the Enlightenment is politically dualistic and reflected by the religious developments between these two poles.

The promotion of personal rights and political representation under liberalism against autocracies in Colonial America and Bourbon France developed from the Enlightenment. Bayly states “the goal of an imagined liberal society was a more powerful social force than the practice of liberalism.” Indeed, the newly independent America and Revolutionary France did not completely realise liberalism; Bayly is right as liberalism motivated American and French societies to replace the Ancien Regime. The 1776 US…

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