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Unit 1: Notes #2 9/11/12 Mr. Welch

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1 Unit 1: Notes #2 9/11/12 Mr. Welch
The Enlightenment Unit 1: Notes #2 9/11/12 Mr. Welch

2 The Enlightenment An intellectual movement during the 18th century that stressed the use of reason, logic, and intellectual thought over emotion and religion Goal: to empower common people to use reason to challenge their gov’ts and religions to guarantee their rights as human beings Enlightenment thinkers hoped to improve society, law and gov’t

3 An Influential Thinker
John Locke was an Enlightenment thinker from England In 1690 he wrote Two Treatises of Government where he stated it was the duty of the gov’t to protect the citizens’ “natural rights” According to Locke these natural rights were life, liberty and property

4 Idea of Natural Rights Locke felt individuals enter into society with natural rights and that no gov’t could deny these rights to its citizens If a gov’t failed in their duty to protect the citizens’ natural rights, then the citizens are justified in changing their gov’t This idea came to be known as the social contract The social contract came to justify the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence The colonists felt that they were unfairly taxed and were not being properly represented in the English Parliament

5 Signing of the Declaration of Independence

6 Separation of Powers The best form of gov’t has separate branches, each w/ certain powers One branch must check with other branches in order to use their power This prevents one branch from overpowering the others This idea was proposed by French Enlightenment think Baron de Montesquieu Thinkers reasoned that this design best serves the people b/c it keeps the gov’t from becoming too powerful and crushing the rights of the people

7 Enlightenment in America
Prior to the Revolution, great American thinkers became students of the Enlightenment and Locke Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, James Madison Americans used the ideas of self-rule, natural rights, and the social contract to justify independence

8 Effects of the Enlightenment
May 1776 – The American colonies form their own independent gov’ts and move to have independence declared from England Thomas Jefferson was appointed to be author of a declaration of reasons for independence Explaining to the king why they have declared independence Jefferson drew heavily from the ideas of John Locke He discussed the natural rights of Americans, calling them “unalienable rights”

9 Effects Cont. Locke’s natural rights: life, liberty, property
Jefferson’s: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Jefferson reinforced Locke’s idea that a gov’t is formed based on the consent of the people governed When gov’t abuses its power, the people must abolish it and form a new one that guarantees rights On July 4, 1776, fifty-seven delegates signed the Declaration of Independence Committing treason against the English king

10 Declaration of Independence
Written on July 4, 1776

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