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The Enlightenment was sparked by scientists who used reason, along with experiments, to figure out the universe worked. Isaac Newton, for example, discovered the principal of gravity. During the Enlightenment, political thinkers tried to use reason to improve government.
John Locke was influenced by the Glorious Revolution and saw the state of nature as a good place and the social contract as a voluntary agreement to enhance life. He felt government was to protect the rights of other people and they had the right to break the contract and replace it with a new one.
His writings had a strong influence on American patriots like Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independance.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau saw society as the corrupting influence on society and he felt that it was the government's role to protect the "general will" of the people. American colonists rejected Rousseau.
Baron de Montesquieu admired the English system of limited government. He made the concepts of limited government popular. His ideas are evident in the U. S. Constitution.
Voltaire wrote many novels, plays, and essays that brought him fame and wealth. he became known for his disliking of the Roman Catholic Church. he supported Deism, a belief based on reason.
~By - Emmaleigh Sanders~
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