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Enlightenment Thinkers

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Presentation on theme: "Enlightenment Thinkers"— Presentation transcript:

1 Enlightenment Thinkers
Influences on the US Constitution

2 Think about it….what does he mean by this?
The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries. James Madison

3 Enlightenment An intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries ( ) marked by a celebration of the powers of human reason, a keen interest in science, the promotion of religious toleration, and a desire to construct government free of tyranny. –(Hirsch 226)

4 Relationship to Scientific Revolution
During the Scientific Revolution ’s people began to look at the physical world differently. Why not use reason discover laws of human nature or NATURAL LAWS

5 Natural Law The doctrine that human affairs should be governed by ethical principles that are part of the very nature of things and that can be understood by reason. (Hirsch 102)

6 Thomas Hobbes Wrote Leviathan Pessimistic view of people
People were naturally cruel, greedy and selfish. Without laws to control people, life would be “nasty, brutish and short.”

7 Hobbes and the Social Contract
People enter into a contract with a strong government People give up some of their natural rights in order to ensure an orderly society Hobbes believed an absolute monarchy could force order and obedience

8 John Locke 17th century English philosopher. Locke argued against the belief that human beings are born with certain ideas already in their minds. Argued that governments depend on the consent of the governed Influenced Thomas Jefferson’s writing of the Declaration of Independence

9 John Locke More optimistic than Hobbes
Believed people are reasonable and moral Believed in Natural Rights that belonged to all humans at birth Life, Liberty and Property/Jefferson wrote about “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” Wrote Two Treatises of Government Best government was limited and accepted by all citizens

10 Locke’s Obligations of Government
Locke felt governments were obligated to the people they governed If they violated their obligations THE PEOPLE HAD A RIGHT TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNEMNT— This concept is the justification for our Declaration of Independence– see page 461..”That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and institute a new Government..”

11 Baron de Montesquieu 18th century French political philosopher
Emphasized separation of powers in his book The Spirit of Laws Thought this protected against tyranny Government should be divided into a legislative, executive and judicial branch Each branch should check the others

12 Philosophes 18th century Radical French thinkers
Stressed the use of human reason Critical of established religious and political practices in France

13 **Voltaire Adopted name of Francois Arouet
18th century French philosopher and author Known for his wit and free thinking Wrote Candide- a novel about calamities that happen to the lead character “all is for the best in this the best of all world’s”

14 **Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau- 18th Century French philosopher
Believed that in a state of nature people are good, but that they are corrupted by social institutions Wrote- The Social Contract Minimal social controls placed by freely elected governments

15 Rousseau General Will- the good of the whole community should come before that of the individual Despised all forms of political and economic oppression

16 Women Left Out The ideas of the Enlightenment period were limited to men Women began to protest Led by Mary Wollstonecraft –argued that women were excluded from the social contract Stress equal education for boys and girls

17 Laissez Faire Some Enlightenment philosophers focused on economic reforms Laissez Faire economics is the belief that businesses should be able to operate without any or very little government interference Promoted free trade and did not like tariffs or taxes on trade

18 Articles of Confederation
Our first constitution Introduced in 1777/Adopted in 1781 after revisions Established a very week central government Most powers given to the states Established a “firm league of friendship between states” No executive or judicial branch—just a congress of delegates from each state

19 Congresses Powers Under the Articles
Congress could conduct foreign affairs, declare war and peace and maintain an army and navy Congress could not collect taxes, regulate interstate trade and enforce laws Country was threatened externally and internally Congress realized it had no power to act Authorized a convention to “revise the Articles of Confederation”

20 Congress Authorizes a Convention
On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress resolved that: ...it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several States be held at Philladelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation...

21 Constitutional Convention 1787
Delegates from each state met in Philadelphia from May-September 1787 Met in Secrecy– to allow those to speak freely 74 delegates were appointed by the states, 55 arrived and about 40 took a real part in the work at the Constitutional Convention 39 signed the Constitution-3 refused to sign the “flawed document”

22 Characteristics of the Delegates
4/5 were members of Congress, others were governors Predominantly Protestant Farmers, businessman, lawyers It is said they were well read, well bred, well fed and well wed James Madison (VA) is known as the father of the Constitution, he took notes of the proceedings

23 Three Major Compromises
The Constitutional Convention is usually discussed in terms of three major compromises Compromise between large and small states over representation in Congress-Connecticut Compromise Compromise between North and South over foreign trade Compromise between North and South over counting slaves 3/5th Compromise All Agreed on the idea of “Balanced Government”

24 The New Constitution Divided Government- Montesquieu
Checks and Balances – Montesquieu Social Contract and freely elected representatives – Rousseau Government should protect natural rights- Locke Government is obligated to those it governs – Locke Power of government is derived from the people – Locke, Rousseau

25 Works Cited Burns, James et al. Government by the People. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor & Esler, Anthony. World History: Connections to Today. Pearson: Upper Saddle River, 2005 Hirsch, E.D. Jr. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2002. Macridis, Roy. Contemporary Political Idoelogies. Harper Collins: New York, 1996.


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