The Enlightenment Name:_____________________ Definition: The Enlightenment is a term which refers to the 18th century in Europe, when many people believed that human reason could be used to combat the evils of the world. Some may call it “the age of reason.” It was a time when man began to use his reason to discover the world, casting off the superstition and fear of the medieval world. The effort to discover the natural laws which governed the universe led to scientific, political and social advances. Enlightenment thinkers examined the rational basis of all beliefs and in the process rejected the authority of church and state. The thinkers and writers of this time period were thought to be ‘enlightened.’ Roots of the Enlightenment: 1) The Scientific Revolution- enlightenment thinking grew out of this science revolution. In science, observation and reason are major aspects of the physical world. The Enlightenment thinkers wanted to apply this approach to human life, especially politics. 2) The Renaissance and the Reformation- The Enlightenment also had its roots in the Renaissance, where humanists questioned accepted beliefs and celebrated the dignity and worth of the individual. The Enlightenment has roots in the Reformation because the Protestants rebelled against the traditional Catholic Church. This idea was taken further with the enlightenment thinkers when they rejected authority and worked to uphold individual’s freedom. 3) Classical Culture- Enlightenment ideals such as, a trust in reason and that people should have a say/voice in their government comes from ancient Greeks, the democracy of ancient Athens and the republic of ancient Rome. The Enlightenment helped to shape modern views of human nature, society, and government. Let’s take a look at three thinkers whose ideas were influential during the Enlightenment and had a huge influence on the Declaration of Independence. Jean Jacques Rousseau: Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in 1712 in Geneva, France. He had a great influence on the Enlightenment and philosophers that would come after him. Perhaps Jean Jacques Rousseau's most important work is The Social Contract, which outlines the basis for a legitimate political order within a framework of classical republicanism. Published in 1762, it became one of the most influential works of political philosophy in the Western tradition.According to Rousseau, by joining together into civil society through the social contract and abandoning their claims of natural right, individuals can both preserve themselves and remain free. This is because submission to the authority of the general will of the people as a whole guarantees individuals against being subordinated to the wills of others and also ensures that they obey themselves because they are, collectively, the authors of the law. Although Rousseau argues that sovereignty (or the power to make the laws) should be in the hands of the people, he also makes a sharp distinction between the sovereign and the government. The government is composed of magistrates, charged with implementing and enforcing the general will. The "sovereign" is the rule of law, ideally decided on by direct democracy in an assembly. SELECTIONS FROM THE SOCIAL CONTRACT (1762) Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) (Primary Source) Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Many a one believes himself the master of others, and yet he is a greater slave than they. . . . [T]he social order is a sacred right which serves as a foundation for all others . . . now, as men cannot create any new forces, but only combine and direct those that exist, they have no other means of self-preservation than to form...a sum of forces which may overcome the resistance, to put them in action . . . and to make them work in concert. This sum of forces can be produced only by the combination of man; but the strength and freedom of each man being the chief instruments of his preservation, how can he pledge them without injuring himself, and without neglecting the cares which he owes to himself? This difficulty, applied to my subject, may be expressed in these term: To find a form of association which may defend and protect with the whole force of the community the person and property of all its members and by means of which each, coalescing with all, may nevertheless obey only himself, and remain as free as before. Such is the fundamental problem of which the social contract furnishes the solution.. In short, each giving himself to all, gives himself to nobody. . . We see from this formula that the act of association contains a reciprocal engagement between the public and individuals, and that every individual . . . is engaged in a double relation. . . the social pact . . . includes this engagement . . . that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be constrained to do so by the whole body; which means nothing else than that he shall be forced to be free. . . . Source: Rousseau, The Social Contract, Henry J. Tozer,trans. (London, 1895). Questions: 1- Rousseau believed that people should come together to form a ______________ _______________________ 2- He believes that this contract will help perseve people and help them __________ __________________. 3- People should have the power to __________ ___________. 4- The government is supposed to enforce the _____________ __________. John Locke: John Locke was born in England in 1632. He had a major impact on the Enlightenment. Unlike Rousseau, who favored a direct democracy, Locke favored a constitutional monarchy. This is a government in which the monarch’s power is limited by a basic set of laws, or constitution. Locke’s ideas reflected a long tradition in England. First, in 1215 English barons forced King John to accept the Magna Carta, which established ideas of rights and liberties that the King had to respect (though favoring the nobles and not the common people). Then, in 1688, after the Glorious Revolution when Parliament forced King James II from England and crowned William III King, they created a Bill of Rights that strengthened the power of the Parliament as a representative of the people. Locke offered a defense of Parliament’s actions in his book, Two Treatises of Government. In the book, he denies the divine right of Kings and states that the true basis of government is a social contract among free people. The purpose of government is to protect people’s natural rights; life, liberty and property. In exchange, people gave government the power to make and enforce laws. The government’s authority was based on the consent of the governed and if it failed it could be overthrown. SELECTIONS FROM OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT John Locke (1632.1704) (Primary Source) The State of Nature To understand political power aright, we must consider what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature; without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man. . . .The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men [are] all the workmanship of one omnipotent and infinitely wise Maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his business. . . . Reason Men living together according to reason, without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of nature. God, who hath given the world to men in common, hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life, and convenience. The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being. Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy. And thus, considering the plenty of natural provision there was a long time in the world, and the few spenders . . . there could be then little room for quarrels or contentions about property so established. Questions on John Locke: 1- Locke said the true basis of government was a _____________ _________________. 2- Locke believed the purpose of government was to protect __________ _________________ __________________; including life, liberty and property. 3- Locke added that people gave government the power to make and enforce law in exchange for ________________________________. 4- Because Locke believed a government’s authority was based on the consent of the governed, he also believed that if the government failed it could be ___________________________________. Baron de Montesquieu: Charles-Louis de Secondat was born in France in 1689. He was better known by his title Baron de Montesquieu. He was concerned about how to protect political liberty. Montesquieu spent much of his time studying governments. . According to Montesquieu, there were three types of government: a monarchy (ruled by a king or queen), a republic (ruled by an elected leader), and a despotism (ruled by a dictator). Montesquieu believed that a government that was elected by the people was the best form of government. He did, however, believe that the success of a democracy - a government in which the people have the power - depended upon maintaining the right balance of power. He also believed that the free governments were dependent on constitutional arrangements and a balance of power. Montesquieu argued that the best way to protect liberty was to divide power among branches of government, so that no one section had all the power. Montesquieu used England as a model and wrote that power should be divided among three branches of government; the legislative branch made laws, the executive branch enforced laws and the judicial branch interprets laws. The three branches should be separate, but equal, so that no one branch is too powerful. This concept is called the separation of powers. He also believed that each branch should check the power of the others. Montesquieu warned that liberty could be lost, though if too much power was in the hands of any one person or group. SELECTIONS FROM THE SPIRIT OF THE LAWS (1749) Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689.1755) (Primary Source) Of Political Liberty and the Constitution of England Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments; and even in these it is not always found. It is there only when there is no abuse of power: but constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go. To prevent this abuse, it is necessary, from the very nature of things, that power should be a check to power. The political liberty of the subject is a tranquility of mind arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted as one man need not be afraid of another. When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty. . . . Again, there is no liberty if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. In perusing the admirable treatise of Tacitus on the manners of the ancient German tribes, we find it is from that nation the English have borrowed the idea of their political government. This beautiful system was invented first in the woods. . . . Neither do I pretend by this to undervalue other governments, nor to say that this extreme political liberty ought to give uneasiness to those who have only a moderate share of it. How should I have any such design; I who think that even the highest refinement of reason is not always desirable, and that mankind generally find their account better in mediums than in extremes? Source: Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, baron de The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans and W. Davis, 1777). Questions of Montesquieu: 1- Montesquieu was concerned with how governments should be organized and how to protect ________________ _______________________. 2- The best form of government was one __________________ by the people. 3- He also believed that this democracy could only be successful with a constitution and _____________ ____ ________________. 4- Montesquieu argued that power should be divided among __________ ___________________ of government, which would be separate but equal. 5- Montesquieu thought each branch should check the ________________ of the others.
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