Sample Philosophy Essay Paper on Enlightenment


Enlightenment was an era where reasoning, analysis, and individualism took the center stage in Western Europe. Enlightenment philosophy underlined rational change and abandonment of traditional authority that overlooked humanity. However, the issue of crime seemed complex to resolve, as explained by Cesare Becaria. The treatise by Becaria, written in 1764, criticized torture and death penalty, in addition to proposing reform on the criminal law system. According to Becaria, capitalists have the capacity to define crime, as well as how to curtail it, since they control legislature, judicial system, administrative systems, and police (Jones and Johnstone 149). Marx’s enthusiasts termed this practice as conflict criminology.

Max and Engels described a parasitic class called Lumpenproletariat, which survives on criminal activities and termed it as an enemy to the working class. This class could not support the move toward communism, as it was serving the interest of capitalists. In 1829, Robert Peel managed to persuade the British Parliament to enact the Metropolitan Police Act. Peel emphasized that the core duties of police was to prevent crime, rather than acting after crime. The Act led to the establishment of ranked uniformed police force that was responsible for preventing crime and chaos. During Peel’s reign, the London police was able to prevent crime through their patrol, rather than waiting for night watchmen to raise alarm.

The Fourteenth Amendment, which was endorsed in the US on July 1868, advocated for equal treatment for all Americans under the law. Apart from assuring equal treatment, the Amendment allowed individual right to be afforded fair chances on issues concerning life, property, and due process. The end of the Civil War ended slavery, but most African Americans were left with nothing to support themselves. The southerners joined the Union, and the newly formed states began implementing legislatures that created limits to former slaves. Capitalists continued curtailing individuals’ free will by exploiting labor, as they engaged on matters of economic gains.

Works Cited

Jones, Mark, and Peter Johnstone. History of Criminal Justice. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2012. Print.