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  • Galileo Galilei
  • “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” (Doc.1B)
  • John Locke
  • “All mankind . . . being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” (Doc.3B)
  •  Baron de Montesquieu
  • “The spirit of moderation should also be the spirit of the lawgiver." (Doc.4B)
  • Background: He was born in the Italian city of Pisa and at the age of 17 he went to the University of Pisa. He quickly rose to fame with his ingenious theories. (Doc.1B) He was a trouble maker and would have arguments with many people. His personality gained him many enemies. (Doc.1B) Achievements: Galileo disproved Aristotle's theory by dropping objects of different weights off the famous leaning Tower of Pisa. He observed that objects of different masses hit the ground at the same time. (Doc.1B) He discovered four moons that revolve around the planet Jupiter. He also determined Venus was not a star but a planet. (Doc.1B) Galileo rejected the geocentric theory of the universe. Galileo's observation of the sky supported the heliocentric theory, had been developed by the astronomer Copernicus. This theory positioned the sun at the center of the universe. (Doc.1B) Published works: Galileo supported the heliocentric theory that the sun is at the center of the universe. (Doc.1B) Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, 1615 (Doc.1A)
  • Background:   John Locke was born in the countryside of England in 1632.He earned a spot at a prestigious boarding school in far-off London. At the age of 20 he entered Oxford University. He was greatly influenced by his father. (Doc.3B) Locke’s father fought on the side of the Parliamentarians. John Locke’s political philosophy came to reflect his father’s belief in limited government. (Doc.3B) Achievements: In 1776, his ideas would be echoed in the American Declaration of Independence. (Doc.3B) Parliament also passed a bill of rights. This change in government is known as the Glorious Revolution. Locke approved of these changes in England. (Doc.3B) Published works: In Two Treatises of Government, Locke denied the divine right of monarchs to rule. He added a preface before it was published in 1690 to argue that his book offered a theory of government that justified Parliament’s actions. The true basis of government, he wrote, was a social contract, an agreement in which free people give power to a government in exchange for its protections. (Doc.3B)
  • Background: Charles-Louis de Secondat was born in France in 1689. Montesquieu attended a Catholic school and later he became a lawyer. (Doc.4B) His uncle died in 1716, and Montesquieu inherited the title of baron along with his uncle’s fortune. He was a French political philosopher of the Enlightenment. (Doc.4B) Achievements: Montesquieu’s ideas had a powerful impact among men who wrote the U.S constitution and made the separation of powers a key part of the American system of government. (Doc.4B) Books Published: His most famous book, The Spirit of Laws, which was published in 1748. In this book, he described his theory of how governments should be organized.(Doc.4B) Persian Letters is another book he wrote. The book described French society as seen by fictional travelers from Persia. (Doc.4B)
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