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Word Count: 1,207
In seventeenth century America the world was a frightening place God could and would strike a man down at any time for any missteps he might take Nature was filled with horrors like Indians and the Devil resided in the forest waiting to steal peoples souls In the eighteenth century however the Enlightenment began Man discovered that he could learn by following others example or by observing nature rather than looking solely to the Bible for answers People began to become concerned with their life here on the earth rather than concerning themselves solely with the expectations of the afterlife God stopped being thought of as a puppeteer pulling the strings and controlling every movement but as a clockmaker who had wound the world up and had then stepped back to watch Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine were two important figures in the Enlightenment Although their philosophies differed on some matters they both believed that the world was there to observe not merely to act as a waiting room for the afterlife This was a dramatic change from the seventeenth century viewpoint Franklin and Paines viewpoints differed sharply from those that were held to be true in the seventeenth century and nowhere were these differences as apparent as they were in the areas of knowledge nature and religion In regards to knowledge the seventeenth century view was that knowledge was to gained through studying the Bible and that the only purpose of gaining further knowledge would be to preserve the integrity of ones own soul or to help others in saving theirs The Puritans interests in gaining or preserving knowledge were solely religious and they also believed that any knowledge that man was to have could be found within the Bible In The Autobiography Part Two Franklin writes that his main reason for setting up a subscription library was to give himself access to more books and that the knowledge he gained would serve
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