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The Enlightenment 7.2-3 ~ Analyze the Enlightenment ideas of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire that challenged absolutism and.

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Presentation on theme: "The Enlightenment 7.2-3 ~ Analyze the Enlightenment ideas of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire that challenged absolutism and."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Enlightenment 7.2-3 ~ Analyze the Enlightenment ideas of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire that challenged absolutism and influenced the development of limited government.


3 The relationship between citizens and their government is a fundamental component of political rule.
The Enlightenment was seen as an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries which sought to apply “reason” to society to help better understand and improve society. Politics- it’s structure, purpose, and execution-was one of the areas where “enlightened” philosophy was applied.

4 Absolutism: Was the basis of most governments in Europe at the time.
Unlimited governments placed total or absolute power in the hands of the rulers. Most governments were absolute monarchies based on divine rights-the belief that rulers received their power directly from God, and therefore, citizens were expected to respond to all decisions of the rulers without input or challenges. Citizens did not have any guaranteed rights.

5 The political philosophy of the Enlightenment presented a differing view that provided a direct challenge to absolutism and influenced the development of limited government. The social contract theory was the idea that government was created as an agreement (contract) between social groups as a way of structuring themselves in a mutually beneficial manner. These 2 components were used by Enlightenment philosophers to help examine and classify government.

6 John Locke~ born in England
One of the great political philosophers of the Enlightenment. Wrote his famous book, Two Treatises of Government. Influenced the Glorious Revolution. Locke saw the state of nature as a good place and the social contract by a voluntary agreement to enhance life. He believed all humans were born with natural rights, or rights belonging to all, and therefore presented a challenge to absolutism. Locke’s Natural Law gave everyone rights to life, liberty and property. According to Locke, the social contract was an agreement between the citizens and their government, and the government’s responsibility was to protect these rights. Locke argued that if the government did not protect these rights, then the people had the right to break the contract by abolishing the government and creating a new one.

7 Locke’s ideas developed into the concept of the consent of the governed, or the belief that a government gets its approval or “consent” from the people. He believed the government’s purpose was to protect citizens’ rights. Locke’s writings had a strong influence on American patriots like Thomas Jefferson and in his writings of the Declaration of Independence.

8 Jean-Jacques Rousseau:
In 1762, Rousseau published a book called, The Social Contract which presented his political ideas. Had a similar belief about the state of nature but his viewpoint was different about the role of government. Saw society as the corrupting influencing on people, it was the role of government to protect the “general will” of the people. It was the government’s duty to implement policies deemed beneficial for the general populace, or by basing decisions on majority rule. Rousseau’s ideas, along with Locke’s, formed the foundation for the idea of popular sovereignty which was is used in limited governments today. Popular Sovereignty ~ like consent of the governed~ dictates that government gets their power based on what the people or citizens want. American colonists largely rejected Rousseau, but his writings would later provide part of the foundation for totalitarian governments.

9 Baron de Montesquieu Focused on governmental organizations by promoting the ideas of separation of powers and checks and balances. By creating a separation of powers, a government must be limited as each branch checks the others’ powers. Montesquieu greatly admired the English system of limited government from which he garnered these concepts. Published a book in 1748~ The Spirit of Laws. These concepts did not originate with him, but he was largely responsible for popularizing them and modifying the English system of the time having 2 branches (executive and legislative) to having 3 branches: _ The Executive Branch (Monarch) _ The Legislative Branch (Parliament) _ The Judicial Branch (Courts) The influence of his ideas is apparent in the U.S. Constitution.

10 Voltaire: Voltaire ~ the pen name of Francois- Marie Arouet focused on civil liberties, mainly freedom of speech and religion. His influence on limited government was mainly in the area of rights of the citizens. He wrote many books and plays to demonstrate the use of reason and voice his views on social reforms, often showing his dislike of religious intolerance, advocating a separation of church and state, and modeling the right to express personal opinion through free speech. Voltaire blamed the Roman Catholic Church leaders for keeping knowledge from the people. He believed all people had the right to choose their own religion.

11 The Enlightenment – Part II

12 The 1700’s were known as the “Age of Enlightenment”.
France was the major center of The Enlightenment. European thinkers believed “reason” could uncover scientific laws that would help govern and direct all human life. The ideas of Liberty and Equality threatened the powerful kings because they feared they would lose their power as the people gained more freedom. During this time period, if a ruler took away or abused people’s natural rights, people could revolt and begin a new government. An Enlightened Despot was a ruler who embraced Enlightenment ideas. Austria and Prussia were 2 German states that became great European powers. In the 1600 and 1700’s, Germany was made up of a collection of 300 states.

13 Important People of the Enlightenment:
1. Frederick the Great was a European power who ruled Prussia.

14 2. Mary Wollstonecraft was the most powerful supporter of women’s rights during the time of The Enlightenment. Mary Wollstonecraft:

15 3. Thomas Hobbs believed humans were naturally cruel and only strong leaders could direct them.
4. Denis Diderot spent 20 years developing the 28 book set known as the encyclopedia which helped spread information in print for the subjects of science, religion, government and the arts.

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