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The Enlightenment- Was sparked by scientists who used reason, along with experiments, to figure out how the universe worked. During the Enlightenment, political thinkers tried to use reason to improve government.
John Locke- Great political philosopher. He believed that the power of a government to rule must come from the consent of the governed. In other words, that people should be able to choose who governs them. Locke's writings had a strong influence on American patriots like Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau- He felt it was the government's duty to implement policies deemed beneficial for the general populace. American colonists largely rejected Rousseau. His writings later provided part of the fountain totalitarian governments.
Baron de Montesquieu- He called for a complete separation of powers to maintain balance within government. Which Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government. He greatly admired the English system of limited government. His ideas are evident in the U.S. Constitution.
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