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The Enlightenment was a major shift in western philosophy and is mostly defined by its opposition to the age of faith.  It began in the mid-seventeenth century and remains a powerful influence on the way people view society today.  “One of the most important claims of the Enlightenment was the insistence that every human being had equal worth, dignity, and personal integrity” (Bronski 26).  The Enlightenment also emphasized the autonomous and free subject, an idea that many in Queer Theory and postmodern thought criticize (see Judith Butler).  Many Enlightenment figures also fell into the trappings of their time period and excluded many peoples from equal treatment.  The Enlightenment coalesced around the idea that “true civil liberty included the right to do anything that does not injure others” (Bronski 27), which opened up new acceptance towards what consenting adults do with each other “behind closed doors”.  The Enlightenment continues to influence the way we see society and government.  

Enlightenment

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