Impact Of The Enlightenment On Modern Political Thought

1841 Words Apr 20th, 2016 8 Pages
David Wolkoff
English 9CP/Western Civ.
Mrs. Orens/Mr. Reiss
April 1, 2016 The Impact of the Enlightenment on Modern Political Thought

The philosopher John Locke once said, “[g]overnment has no other end, but the preservation of property” (“John Locke”). The social contract is the fundamental basis for modern government. This idea affects everything we believe a modern state should represent for itself and its people. This way of understanding the role of government was inspired by the writings of the Enlightenment era philosophers. This way of understanding the role of the state and its people is significantly different from what was believed in ancient Athens and Rome. The Enlightenment era philosophers did more than just think of new ideas of government; their works not only inspired changes during the 18th century, but also continued to shape modern governments. While it is true that certain forms of democracy evolved in ancient Athens and Rome, modern governments differ significantly from these ancient societies. In some cases, the very words put forth by the philosophers were written directly into the constitutions of countries practicing these new ideas. Without the contributions of John Locke and other enlightenment philosophers, democracy and government as we know it today would not exist.
The shape of modern government in America and Europe today comes from many different ideas that existed before the Enlightenment even began. Concepts in ancient Greece are…
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