Enlightenment and Human Rights.docx

Enlightenment and Human Rights.docx - Enlightenment and...

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Enlightenment and Human Rights If the guillotine is the most striking negative image of the French Revolution, then the most positive is surely the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, one of the founding documents in the human rights tradition. Liberty meant freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom from unreasonable government (torture, censorship, and so on). Enlightenment writers, such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, influenced ordinary readers, politicians, and even heads of state all over the Western world. Enlightenment writers praised the legal and constitutional guarantees established by the English and the Americans, but they wanted to see them applied everywhere. The Anglo-American tradition of legal guarantees of rights dates back to the Magna Carta, or "Great Charter," of 1215. Voltaire held French practices up against those in England, China, and elsewhere and found cause to ridicule French "fanaticism" in religion
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