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The Enlightenment: An Era of Optimism

            The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement occurring in Europe throughout the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This period placed an emphasis on reason, analysis, and individualism in place of the traditional authorities like the Church that had played a major role in people's lives since the beginning of the Dark Ages. The Enlightenment also saw the development of optimism in regards to the abilities of humans to solve their own problems with their government and societies. People of the time were searching for a rational approach to creating a better society for themselves due to the political and economic changes that were occurring at a rapid rate across Europe. Extreme growth across the continent gave way for a need for societal reforms.The Enlightenment was a era of extreme optimism towards the individual's capability of solving their own problems that resulted in the development of new political, economic, and psychological ideas. .
             John Locke's Two Treaties on Government written in 1694 were the root of political ideas that developed during the Enlightenment. The basis of Locke's ideas was that the government should exist to carry out the will of people and protect life, liberty, and property instead of being an absolute monarchy existing without power checks. This belief is demonstrated in his quote "the organization of the State evolved as a result of free individuals consenting to be governed by an abstract authority in the interests of protecting private property." Locke saw humans as good, rational, social, cooperative, and tolerant. It was his belief that, in the state of nature, there was an original equality where all peoples had the right to autonomy and freedom. He also believed that in the case of governments failing to complete its duties, the people under said government had the right to form a new government even through means such as a revolution.

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