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Posted: September 4th, 2023

During the 18th century many revolutions

During the 18th century many revolutions were inspired by the Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers focused on the idea of natural rights. They felt that all people were born with certain rights which no government could deny them. Many of these thinkers pushed back against the idea of absolute monarchies and instead advocated for more limited governments which would protect the rights of citizens. In many ways these ideas inspired both the American (1775) and French (1789) revolutions. Our modern concept of human rights is closely linked to the ideas developed in this time period. In this assignment, you explore ideas of natural rights by creating your own modern list of rights inspired by the Enlightenment movement and current societal values. This assignment will have two required parts.
Part One: The Enlightenment and Its Thinkers
For this portion of the assignment, you will research the Enlightenment and provide some background on what this movement was and what it hoped to achieve. You will also choose one important Enlightenment thinker from the following list and explain the ideas that they contributed to the movement. Focus specifically on their ideas regarding government, natural rights, human nature, or the reforms they proposed for society. You may choose from the list of individuals below. This should be written in paragraph format and should be approximately 250 words in length.
• Baron Montesquieu
• John Locke
• Thomas Hobbes
• Jean-Jacques Rosseau
• Voltaire
• David Hume
• Thomas Jefferson
• Frederick the Great
• Immanuel Kant
Part Two: The Rights of Man
For part two of this assignment, you will look at two documents from the Enlightenment that dealt with the idea of natural rights. First, you will read the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. This document was drafted by revolutionaries during the French Revolution and outlined the values that the revolution was fighting for. Afterwards, you will read the American Bill of Rights which was drafted following the American Revolution in 1791. This document similarly outlined the rights that the founders of the United States felt could never be denied to citizens. Both contain similar rights and values that were inspired by the Enlightenment.
After you read these two documents, you will generate your own Declaration of Rights which outlines at least ten important natural rights that you feel everyone should be entitled to in our modern world. Remember that Enlightenment thinkers were often inspired by others, so you can draw upon the previous two documents for inspiration. Be careful to present these rights in your own way and utilize powerful language to emphasize the importance of these rights.
Your Declaration of Rights should:
1. Include a preamble (or introduction) explaining the idea of natural rights and why people are entitled to them.
2. Contain a list of at least ten rights that you believe all human beings have.
• Each right should be explained clearly and with details about why you believe this right exists.
3. Be clearly inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment.
4. Reflect your own views on natural rights.

Part One: The Enlightenment and Its Thinkers

The Enlightenment was a philosophical and intellectual movement that emerged in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was characterized by a focus on reason, science, individualism, and the pursuit of progress and knowledge. The Enlightenment sought to challenge traditional authority and promote the idea of individual freedom and rights. The movement was inspired by a number of key thinkers, including Baron Montesquieu, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, David Hume, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick the Great, and Immanuel Kant.

One important Enlightenment thinker is John Locke, whose ideas had a profound impact on the development of democratic societies. Locke believed that human beings have natural rights, including the right to life, liberty, and property. He argued that governments should exist solely to protect these rights and that if they fail to do so, people have the right to rebel against them. Locke’s ideas inspired the American Revolution and the development of modern constitutional democracies. His work helped to establish the concept of the social contract, which is the idea that people enter into a contractual relationship with their government in order to ensure the protection of their rights.

Part Two: The Rights of Man

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, drafted during the French Revolution, and the American Bill of Rights, drafted following the American Revolution, both emphasized the importance of natural rights. These documents served as a powerful inspiration for the development of modern democratic societies.

Inspired by these documents and the Enlightenment movement, I hereby present my Declaration of Rights:

All human beings are entitled to certain natural rights. These rights are inherent and cannot be denied by any government, institution, or individual. It is the responsibility of every government to protect these rights and ensure that they are respected and upheld.

Declaration of Rights:

The right to life: All human beings have the right to live without fear of violence, oppression, or discrimination. Every government has the responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens and to ensure that they are free to pursue their own interests and goals.

The right to liberty: All human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detention or imprisonment. Every person has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to have their individual freedoms protected by law.

The right to equality: All human beings are equal before the law and should be treated with respect and fairness. No individual or group should be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

The right to freedom of thought and expression: All human beings have the right to express themselves freely and to have their opinions respected and valued. Every person has the right to seek out knowledge and to engage in intellectual discourse without fear of persecution.

The right to privacy: All human beings have the right to privacy and to be free from unreasonable surveillance or intrusion into their personal lives.

The right to education: All human beings have the right to access education and to develop their full potential. Every government has the responsibility to ensure that education is accessible and of high quality.

The right to healthcare: All human beings have the right to access healthcare and to receive treatment without discrimination. Every government has the responsibility to ensure that healthcare is accessible and affordable.

The right to a fair trial: All human beings have the right to a fair and impartial trial, conducted according to the rule of law. No one should be subjected to cruel or inhumane punishment.

The right to work: All human beings have the right to work and to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. Every person has the right to fair wages, reasonable working hours, and safe working conditions.

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