The Great Nation Analysis

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The expansion of France’s trade overseas at the end of Louis XIV’s reign placed “a question-mark against France’s commercial performance and international position.” This pause in France’s power only suggests that as trade and expansion continued in France, the absolute monarchy under Louis XIV could not keep up with the rapid changes in France’s economy and culture. However, Colin Jones argues in his book, The Great Nation, that this commercial expansion at the end of Louis XIV’s reign was responsible for creating “a great chain of buying” that allowed ordinary people the ability to develop their own popular opinion via Enlightenment ideas, such as the development of the public sphere, which created the idea that logic and reason were connected…show more content…
George Mason, an author of this document, claimed that “rights are ‘the basis of and foundation of government.’” This idea suggests that the government was put in place for protecting and enacting the rights of the people, of all people and not just Virginians, to listen to them in order to carry out their will. This idea hints at Rosseau’s theory regarding the protection of people’s inherent rights, suggesting that there was a General Will that derived from the people regardless of social class or property ownership. This idea of the will as obtained from the people is further made clear in Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, that “all power is vested in and consequently derived from the people.” Therefore, if the government was responsible for putting the rights of the people in place, then the people, in turn, could question the way the government enacted those laws. Having a document that clearly stated the rights of the people as well as establishing the principles for a legitimate political government served as an example to the French who used this declaration as a model for the basis of their government in the Declarations of Rights of…show more content…
Since the king was chosen by God and was meant to represent God’s holy body on Earth, the idea that the people could use reason to think about and decide their own religion derived directly from Enlightenment ideas. Not only did these ideas influence this American document, but in 1789, these principles regarding the protection of people’s natural rights over the will of the king formed the foundation for the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. The document states that, “No one should be disturbed for his opinions, even in religion, provided that their manifestation does not trouble public order as established by law.” This idea of a freedom of will to choose one’s own religion suggests that people had the intelligence to decide what religion they wanted to follow without the guidance of a supreme ruler or a monarchy. In addition, this new way of defining rights gave ordinary people more power over their inherent and individual rights than previously seen in France as well as

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