Lecture 1 Notes - Class 1 The French Revolution and the...

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Class 1 The French Revolution and the Rise of Napoleon Enlightenment: period in the 18 th century Western Europe that saw a shift in intellectual perspective, political organization, the concept of where sovereignty came from and the rights from individuals and groups - Conceptions of mans relationship to state and the states relationship to the individuals Concepts: - 1. Progress: movement of humanity forward in specific areas – deepening knowledge of the natural world and the understanding that man has the ability to manipulate the natural world through the development of practices and the realization that mankind can manipulate the natural world o Need to overcome ignorance: bread of superstition o Deepening knowledge of the natural world o Overcoming of human cruelty and violence – continual improvement of society (social improvement) and the development of governmental structures to protect the rights of individuals or groups - 2. Deism: knowledge of the natural world and the human world can be achieved through human observation and intellect without the participation of the divine meaning o God is acknowledged but not apart of daily life and experience - 3. Tolerance: society must be fair and just and allow for religions, people and belief tolerance - * These three underscore the key concepts of Enlightenment* People - John Locke: paramount in the American revolution and many others o 1632-1704 o Writing before full dawn of enlightenment o Based on notion of natural rights of man o All men are born in a state as perfect freedom o Each individual is fully equal to the other and has full rights over his own domain and property o Right to have private property o State of liberty is not one of license – man is governed by natural law equal to and independent from all – must do nothing to harm the life, liberty, health or property of another individual o Men can live as they choose as long as they don’t injure anyone else o Governments can only be formed when each man agrees to join together to guarantee each man’s property and liberty o The power of that government is based on the will of the majority and each persons willingness to accept that government o If a government fails to defend the property and liberty of the individuals, it is the duty of the individual to remove that government and replace it
o Governments responsibility is minimal effectively protect individual liberty and property – THAT’S IT: no other responsibly o Middle classes – bourgeois and appeal to working classes - Montesquieu: o 1689-1755 o Key argument: Government of checks and balances o Government filled with: Intermediary bodies o Only argues for monarchy monarchy’s power is checked by the system of checks and balances (no one has absolute power) o Irony of argument is that the government in France is controlled by the nobles (fill intermediary bodies) and not the King - Voltaire: o 1674 o Upper class background o Writings changed throughout life o

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