The Enlightenment Thinkers
New Ideas About Government.
Terms in this set (14)
"The Age of Reason." A movement in Europe and America n the late 1600s and 1700s that emphasized logic and reason as the guides to life.
(1588-1679) - Major book was "Leviathan." (1651) He believed that in their "state of nature," people are greedy, selfish, and mean. He said that people form a "social contract" with government to keep order. Believed in absolute authority of the government and that. once made, it could not be rebelled against. Stability and Security more important than Rights.
State of Nature
A place where there is no government, where people can do whatever they want, and where their natural rights aren't protected. (anarchy)
An agreement in which people gave up some freedom to a powerful government that would protect them from chaos.
17th century English thinker. Major book was "Treatises of Government." (1650) He said that people are naturally good, and can figure things out, that people have a natural right to life, liberty, and property. He agreed with Hobbes about "Social Contract," but said that the government exists to protect the "natural rights" of the people. When it stopped protecting them, the people could remove the government and make a new contract.
The idea that all humans, even in the "state of nature," are born with rights which include the right to life, liberty, and property.
Charles de Montesquieu
French thinker. Major book was "The Spirit of the Law." (1748) He believed that tyranny (bad and evil kings) could be avoided by separating power between three branches of government.
Separation of Powers
The idea that power in government should be divided into 3 separate branches in order to ensure that no one branch of a government can gain too much power. They are:
1. Legislative (makes the laws)
2. Executive (makes sure laws are followed)
3. Judges and Courts (decide how laws are applied in different cases)
Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778) French thinker and writer. Major book called "The Social Contract." (1762) He said that people were good, and that society, and its unequal distribution of wealth, were the cause of most problems. Rousseau believed that government should be run according to the will of the majority, which he called the General Will. He claimed that the General Will would always act for the good of the people.
Rousseau's idea of "Social Contract" was different from Hobbes or Locke. It said that the people made a contract with each other, not with a ruler or government. Therefore, the desires of the majority of the people in a democracy (the General Will of the People) was the law. The general will was considered the shared customs, traditions, and values that held together a community of people.
A form of government where the people make decisions by voting on laws and in elections.
Informal meetings of French Enlightenment thinkers, writers, artists, and musicians usually in the homes of wealthy women. Important because it led to talking about new ideas outside of the nobles.
(1694-1778) French thinker. He believed that free speech, free press, and free religion were rights that belong to every person. He spoke out against the bad things happening in the French government (King Louis XIV), and the intolerance of the Catholic Church.
Editor and publisher of "The Encyclopedia" (1751-1772), a 28 volume set that collected articles by the top Enlightenment thinkers. Financed by Madame Geoffrin, it helped spread radical Enlightenment ideas all over Europe. It was banned by the French king and the pope. Because of that, Diderot had to go into hiding.
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