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Word Count: 1,100
The 18th century is a period in history where people believed they were in a new age enlightened by reason science and respect for humanity Prior centuries were considered ignorant and dark inspiring philosophers and revolutionaries to express the power of human reasoning Yet the transition to an enlightened age caused conflict in several facets of society Different perspective varied in accordance to the way it affected them For example the issue of slavery caused much debate amongst French intellectuals The French Revolution motivated the National Assembly to implement the Declaration of the Rights of Man beginning with the statement All men are born and remain free and equal in rights The ambiguity rested on whether or not slavery abided to the concept of equal rights The apparent contradiction for equal citizenship aroused desire for political representation However the French economy was greatly reliant on colonial conquests depending on slaves for labor In theory those who supported natural rights and those who were religiously affiliated condemned slavery yet the economic benefits became too great that it outweighed the immorality Post-French Revolution political system attempted to re-evaluate the stance of the class system heading towards a more tolerant mentality Prior to French revolution slavery was taken for granted as part of a class system where the rich dominated the poor and those of the lower class were prevented from social advancement In spite of the old monarchy mentality the American Revolution provided proof to the French that oppressive rulers can be overthrown with enlightenment ideals of liberty and freedom In Document 1 Louis de Jaucourt The Slave Encyclopedia emphasizes natural rights and human dignity together encompasses the definition of liberty Thereby the enslavement of people for the sole purpose for cheap labor was in essence diminishing the purpose of the French Revolution violating liberty French philosopher Voltaire Essay on Morals and Customs 1756 Document 2 challenged the mercantilist concept of slaves as superfluous acknowledging that
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