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Anne AmbrosioAP Government Summer AssignmentThomas Paine’s Common Sense, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence were all heavily influenced by the philosophies of John Locke, the Baron de Montesquieu, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These European political scientists were part of the 18thcentury philosophical movement known as the Enlightenment. The Second Treatise of Civil Government, the Spirit of the Laws, and The Social Contract, insightful political discourses on the role of man verses government, authored by the esteemed Enlightenment philosophers Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau respectively, were the blueprint for many of the principles embedded within the United States system of government.John Locke (1632-1704), an English philosopher, advanced the idea that people had natural rights to life, to liberty, and to property. For almost 200 years, the English people had been subject to the rule of monarchs that all but ignored any constitutional limitations. King James II was removed from his throne and replaced by King William and Queen Mary in a rebellion that became known as the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689). This bloodless revolution was the impetus for Locke’s publishing The Second Treatise of Civil Government. In it, he justified the revolution based on the belief that if a ruler broke his obligation to protect man’s natural rights, then this violation of his social compact with the governed demanded his replacement by a newly established government. Locke’s logical and persuasive fashion of presenting the claim that men have natural rights that exist in the state of natural law is the reason why the doctrine has often been credited to him.Charles Montesquieu (1689-1755), also referred to as the Baron de Montesquieu became,legendary for the philosophy he laid out in his book The Spirit of the Laws. In his book he advocated the separation of the powers of the government into three branches. Montesquieu believed that individuals in their natural state would avoid violence and conflict. Conversely, he
Anne AmbrosioAP Government Summer Assignmentbelieves, “as soon as man enters into a state of society, he loses the sense of his weakness, equality ceases, and then commences the state of law.” Montesquieu recognizes that in order for