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Vocabulary from Chapter 2 Section 1


a cultural movement that spread the idea that reason and science could improve society. Often referred to as the Age of Reason or the Age of Enlightenment. Took place in 18th Century (1700's) Europe. The Enlightenment opposed superstition, intolerance, and abuses in the church and government.


a king or queen


a lawmaking body


a ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case

common law

a system of law that is based on court decisions rather than regulations written by lawmakers

natural rights

freedoms people possess relating to life, liberty, and property. Argued by John Locke.

social contract

an agreement among the people in a society. People agree to give up part of their freedom to a government in exchange for protection of their natural rights. The people agree to obey the government as long as it protects their rights.


a group of people in one place who are ruled by a parent country elsewhere.
Example: The original US colonies were ruled by England across the Atlantic Ocean.

joint-stock company

investors provide partial ownership in a company organized for profit


a written document granting land and the authority to set up colonial governments


an agreement, or contract, between a group of people. Example: The Mayflower Compact

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