John Lock, a universal thinker.

Essay by summergirl251High School, 11th gradeA+, October 2003

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The Long-lived Universal Effects of an Enlightened Thinker

Written By Heidi M. Wilson

The Enlightenment was a period of intense intellectual ferment that lasted from approximately AD 1650 to 1789. The Enlightenment was a turning point in history that ushered in the contemporary age. It was a period when Europe emerged from the middle ages and the Modern Mind was born. The Enlightenment had many short and long term causes seen not only in Europe where the Enlightenment originated but are seen even now in the present day United States. One very significant figure of the Enlightenment was John Locke. He was a highly respected English scholar whose ideas contributed an establishment to the foundation for the Enlightenment. John Locke's Enlightenment ideas have forever changed the meaning of government and where it is directly seen, in the current American government.

The years before the Enlightenment were very important to the development to the ideas that inevitably would shape the world today.

Before the Enlightenment was the time period called the Middle Ages. During this time religion was the focus of life and government at the time was base on feudalism. In the years leading up to it, and the early years of Enlightenment there were strong monarchs throughout Europe. These monarchs were justifying power by the divine right in which Kings claimed not just the right to rule, but to right to rule with absolute power. They backed this claim with the assertion that a king's power came from God. Preachers of the divine right said that monarchs are chosen by God and responsible only to him. To challenge the authority of the monarch in any way was a sin. Because of the divine right, kings were protected and common people were without any rights at all. What power people...