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a movement in the 18th century that advocated the use of reason in the reappraisal of accepted ideas and social institutions

Social Contract

the notion that society is based on an agreement between government and the governed in which people agree to give up some rights in exchange for the protection of others

Natural Rights

the idea that all humans are born with rights, which include the right to life, liberty, and property

Heliocentric Theory

Every thing revolves around the sun studied by Galelo and Copernicus

Scientific Method

a series of steps followed to solve problems including collecting data, formulating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, and stating conclusions


injecting a person with a small dose of a virus to help him or her build up defenses to a disease


Thinkers of the Enlightenment; Wanted to educate the socially elite, but not the masses; were not allowed to openly criticize church or state, so used satire and double-meaning in their writings to avoid being banned; Salons held by wealthy women also kept philosophes safe; They considered themselves part of an intellectual community, and wrote back and forth to each other to share ideas.

Separation of Powers

the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government

Checks and Balances

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power

Popular sovereignty

the idea that political authority belongs to the people

Navigation Acts

Laws that governed trade between England and its colonies. Colonists were required to ship certain products exclusively to England. These acts made colonists very angry because they were forbidden from trading with other countries.

French and Indian War

a war in North America between France and Britain (both aided by indian tribes)

Declaration of Independence

the document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain

Articles of Confederation

the document that created the first central government for the United States; it was replaced by the Constitution in 1789


a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states

US Bill of Rights

First ten amenments to the Constitution guaranteeing individual liberties and due process of law.


respecting the rights of others and giving them what is rightfully theirs


freedom of choice

Laissez-Faire capitalism

allowing industry to be free of state intervention, especially restrictions in the form of tariffs and government monopolies. The phrase is French and literally means "let do", though it broadly implies "let it be" or "leave it alone."


Informal social gatherings at which writers, artists, philosophes, and others exchanged ideas

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