With five examples, how did the 1600s and 1700s enlighten and affect rights of citizens today?

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The biggest changes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had to do with government and rights. The Church no longer controlled everyone's every move, and they were not stuck in the feudal system. Individual rights were on the rise, and democratic governments were as well.
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Five more events that affect the rights of today's citizens could include:

1)  1644 - The Bloody Tenent of Persecution - the first colony established with full religious freedom and tolerance, Rhode Island, gave a religious justification for it in writing

2)  1735 - John Peter Zenger acquitted of sedition, laying the foundation for freedom of the press today

3)  1765 - Stamp Act Congress - the origin of legal protest in the current day United States

4)  1789 - Ratification of the Constitution - limited government, elections and a court system

5)  1791 -- Passage of a Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution

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All the examples given in the first answer are correct and very good examples of what was going on in those centuries.  Let me add one example and talk a little bit about the overall question.

During the Enlightenment, people started to place more faith in the capabilities of human beings and in their inherent equality.  Therefore, these two centuries' events tended to promote the idea that all citizens of a given country had, or should have, certain rights that were protected from the government.  The events also tended to promote the idea that the people should have a say in government.

The one event that I would add to the ones listed above in the Glorious Revolution that happened in England in 1688.

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Here are a few examples:

1611--the King James Version of the Bible was published, making it possible for English-speaking people to read the Bible for themselves.

1620--the Mayflower Compact was written, establishing a form of government for the colony.

1650--it was not enlightening, but this event has had a tremendous effect on American history: slavery is made legal in the colonies.

1776--the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence gave birth to the United States.

1789--the French Revolution destroyed the monarchy, weakened the aristocracy, and established (except for the reign of Napoleon and a couple of others), a form of government based on citizenship and the rights of the people.

I hope this helps you. Other editors will give you different examples, I'm sure.


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