John Locke

The Enlightenment
- Located primarily in Europe
- Lasted from ~1650s to 1780s (depending on who you ask)
- Emphasized reason > faith, and science > religion
John Locke (1632-1704)
Wrote "Essay Concerning Human Understanding," "Two Treatises of Government," articulated the tabula rasa theory ("blank slate"), popularized the idea of "natural rights," and proposed the idea of a government with multiple equal branches (separation of powers).
Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Written in 1690, this treatise presents the tabula rasa theory and the idea of inalienable rights
Tabula rasa theory
Proposed that people were all born the same (against the divine right of kings) and with a "blank slate"
Inalienable rights
"Permanent" rights that Locke believed were life, liberty, and property (which were later mentioned in the Declaration of Independence
Two Treatises of Government
Book written in 1989 by John Locke that proposed government has two main purposes (legislation and execution). He argued these were best done by multiple separate but equal branches, known as "separation of powers."
Separation of powers
The idea that a government of one central body will ultimately fail in government's two main jobs (creation and enforcement of laws) and would best be done by two separate but equal bodies. Also the basis for the three-branch government of the United States.