The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment is the release of individual’s opinions and expressions, or as Immanuel Kant puts it, “man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage.”  Kant states that since most of the population has submitted themselves to “guardians [that] have first made their domestic cattle dumb…” most of the population’s competence is therefore laden with “laziness and cowardice”.  If the masses are given freedom, “enlightenment is almost sure to follow”, in addition to the independent thinkers within an  society.  However, a citizen must still obey the government, and must pay taxes, as being a scholar is “not contrary to his duty as a citizen.”

Frederick II is a great example of an enlightened despot, stating he “must be thoroughly acquainted with its resources, the character of the people.  He also states that a ruler must not “waste the money of the people, the taxes which they have paid, in luxury, pomp, or debauchery.”  The aspects of these duties are largely due to his stance that sovereigns must be civil servants to the people.