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The Philosophes influence on the Enlightenment The Enlightenment was a time period when certain people began to question absolute monarchy and where reason and scientific methods were applied to all aspects of life during the 17th and 18th centuries The Enlightenment thinkers called philosophes were intellectuals who popularized the ideas of the Enlightenment The American Revolution 1775-1783 and the French Revolution 1789-1815 were direct causes of the Enlightenment The ideas of John Locke Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu all played important roles in the revolutions Lockes idea of natural rights and publication of the Two Treatises of Government Rousseaus influence on his followers and Montesquieus idea of separation of power all influenced the revolutions because they objected to a government that infringed on the peoples rights and freedoms and set the basis for modern democracy John Locke believed that everyone was born with natural rights These rights were life liberty and property He believes that the government was based on a social contract a contract between the government and the citizens of between the citizens between the citizens and the ruler and that it was important to establish order In his book Two Treatises of Government he wrote People created a government to protect natural rights A government functioned best when its powers were limited and it was acceptable to all citizens However if a government failed in its basic duty of protecting natural rights the people had the right to overthrow the government Locke meant that if the government doesnt do its job of protecting the peoples rights then the people had the right to form a new and better government His writings were widely read throughout Europe and America and influenced the perceptions of the government The American colonists read his works and thought that Parliament was taking advantage of them The British Parliament taxed the colonists without representation Parliament was enforcing laws on the colonists The colonists had no say in
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