Enlightenment Thinkers

Origins of Democracy
Enlightenment Thinkers
 18th
century European
 Tries
to apply science
and reason to all aspects
of life
Thomas Hobbes
book called
Leviathan in
Hobbes Quotation
Quote from Leviathan:
The condition of man [in the
state of nature] …is a
condition of war of everyone
against everyone.
Hobbes’ Main Ideas
 People
are selfish and greedy
 Social Contract - To avoid chaos, people give
up freedom to a government that will ensure
 The government must be strong and able to
put down rebellion
Hobbes’ Connections Today
 His
ideas are used to justify absolute power
 Many
people today think Hobbes’ ideas are a
bleak, but true view of how people and
governments behave
John Locke
 Wrote
Treatises on
Government in
John Locke Quotation
Quote from Two Treatises on Government:
Men being… by nature all
free, equal, and independent,
no one can be put out of this
estate and subjected to the
political power of another
without his own consent.
Locke’s Main Ideas
 Natural
rights-right to life,
liberty, and property.
(Every person has them)
 Rulers have a
responsibility to protect
those rights
 People have the right to
change a government
that fails to protect those
Locke’s Connection Today
 Locke’s
ideas influenced revolutions around
the world and the authors of the US
Declaration of Independence
 Later, people extended his ideas to include
equality for women and others
Baron de Montesquieu
 Wrote
The Spirit of
the Laws in 1748
Montesquieu Quotation
In order to have…
liberty, it is necessary
that government be set
up so that one man need
not be afraid of
Montesquieu’s Main Ideas
 The
powers of government should be
separated into 3 parts:
 Executive
 Legislative
 Judicial
 Prevent any one group from gaining too much
Montesquieu-Connections Today
 US
has three branches of government and checks
and balances (limit on power)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
 Wrote
a book
The Social Contract
Rousseau Quotation
Only the general will can
direct the energies of the
state in a manner
appropriate to the end for
which it was founded, i.e.,
the common good.
Rousseau Main Ideas
 People
are basically good, but become
corrupted by society.
 In
an ideal society, people would make the
laws and would obey them willingly.
 Good
of community should be put above
Rousseau Connections Today
 Rousseau
is considered a champion of
democracy because of his ideas that political
authority lies with the people
trade is
to say what I
 Wrote
200 books, 2000 pamphlets
 Exposed abuses-corrupt officials, slave
trade, religious prejudice, freedom of
 Exiled for ideas
Connection to today
 First
amendment-Freedom of speech
 Freedom of religion

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