What effect did the Enlightenment have on the concepts of liberty, rights, and the responsibilities of individuals?

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The Enlightenment was a heavily influential time period, but it should be noted that the Enlightenment is a big topic and is made up of many thinkers of profound historical significance, each of whom tended to say very different things from one another. This makes tackling the totality of your questions in such a short format practically impossible. This is one area where you really would need an entire book. Still, I'll give my thoughts as to a few of the notable trends running within the Enlightenment which have proved particularly influential in shaping later centuries of political discourse.

Among the most ubiquitous hallmarks of Enlightenment era political thought is the notion of the Social Contract. First postulated by Thomas Hobbes in defense of Absolutism, then taken up by John Locke to attack Absolutism, and later still by Jean Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract Theory states that governments were originally created to serve a function, and its adherents spent tremendous energy...

(The entire section contains 475 words.)

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