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Enlightenment Thinkers The Enlightenment thinkers also called philosophes represented a revolution in the way mankind would think and regard religion government and education as well as many other things Royalty and church authority of the time tried to suppress their ideas They considered their ideas outrageous and as a threat to the well being of the state and their power Americas founding fathers were greatly influenced by the Enlightenment Many of its ideas are still regarded with the utmost respect today and many of its thinkers are household names such as Voltaire Locke and Rousseau John Locke fought to protect individual liberty from arbitrary state authority In his Second Treatise On Government he lays the groundwork that gave birth to the liberal tradition that aims to safeguard the natural rights of people from tyrannical despotic governments He pointed out that the power to govern derives from the people therefore the government is supposed to implement the peoples will To him political power represented the power that every man gave up into the hands of society to be employed for their own good If every individual in a group agrees to put all their power in a single governing body it only makes sense for that body to look out for the good of all its members not the private interests of certain individuals Locke believes all humans are born with three very important natural rights life liberty and property And as I already said the main purpose of government is to protect these rights The sole reason people created government is to PROTECT the RIGHTS and this is done through the legislative which is given the power to make laws In Second Treatise On Government Locke establishes bounds set to the legislative 1one rule for rich and poor 2laws must be designed for the good of the people 3taxes cannot be raised on the property of the people without the consent of the people
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