The liberal, Enlightened era had ushered in with it an alienation of those that they did not deem as rational.
The indigenous of the Americas were condemned as those that lived in an uncivilized age, similar to the way the Barbarians did in the Roman Empire. Women, in the line of Aristotelian condemnation, were regarded as second class citizens, or the second sex.
African-American slaves abandoned hope for equality. Modernism, with the rise of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, and Spinoza, made little attempt to include the ‘other’ in their literature. However, Voltaire, Hume, and Rosseau called on the institutions and rule-makers to reconsider their previously accepted notions about values and reality.
The philosophes had argued that women should be included in the expanding moral circle. Jeremy Bentham went so far as to say that even animals feel pain and suffering. Fortunately, this made some think that the ostracized and marginalized, the 17 million or so included in the Slave Trade, possessed similar, if not the same, human values as the enlightened society in Europe.
Before you go…
I’d love if you’d share the article on Facebook/TWITTER if you want your friends to benefit from it in some way at all.
I write to keep you thinking and to keep me thankful and reflective. Cheers and until next time,