Age Of Enlightenment

Decent Essays

During the 18th century, a worldwide movement, more commonly recognized as the Age of Enlightenment, encouraged the spread of philosophical thinking, science, communications, and politics. This movement gradually branched out from Northern Europe and reached places such as the United States of America and France, encouraging the American and French Revolutions. The Enlightenment brought about a new age of philosophical and intellectual thinkers, such as John Locke, which helped shape and influence modern government and politics. John Locke is recognized as the father of classical liberalism, introducing the Two Treatises of Government, Social Contract, and private property, which formed the basis for the constitutions in westernized …show more content…

America's Declaration of Independence.) Natural rights became the staple of Locke’s political philosophy. Locke believed that an individual was born with the right and duty to their own life, including their property. His idea based off of natural rights has become what he is most commonly recognized for in politics. Much like Locke’s belief in natural rights, he also believed in the social contract theory. The social contract theory is the agreement among people in a society to cooperate in order to receive social benefits. The government could only be a legitimate government with the consent of the people that it governs, along with their agreement to obey its laws (Thompson, Bruce E.R. "social contract theory.") If the citizens obey the rules of its government, then the government should protect their natural rights such as their freedom of speech, equality, and property. Locke’s social contract theory became one of the ideas that capital punishment was founded off of, however, he was not the only enlightened thinker to have this theory. Both John Locke and Thomas Hobbes believed in the social contract theory, but they had conflicting ideas. Hobbes believed in an absolute monarchy, a form of government in which Locke was greatly opposed to, and that the people must obey the law, but trying to overthrow their king would be a violation of the contract. In contrast to Locke, who believed that the citizens have the right to rebel against its government if they

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