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The Enlightenment Thinkers
The Enlightenment thinkers, also called philosophes, represented a revolution in the way mankind would think and regard religion, government, and education as well as many other things. Royalty and church authority of the time tried to suppress their ideas. They considered their ideas outrageous and as a threat to the well being of the state and their power. America's founding fathers were greatly influenced by the Enlightenment. Many of its ideas are still regarded with the utmost respect today, and many of its thinkers are household names, such as Voltaire, Locke, and Rousseau.
John Locke fought to protect individual liberty from arbitrary state authority. In his "Second Treatise On Government", he lays the groundwork that gave birth to the liberal tradition that aims to safeguard the natural rights of people from tyrannical, despotic governments. He pointed out that the power to govern derives from the people, therefore the government is supposed to implement the people's will. To him, political power represented the power that every man gave up into the hands of society to be employed for their own good. If every individual in a group agrees to put all their power in a single governing body, it only makes sense for that body to look out for the good of all its members; not the private interests of certain individuals.
- Introduction to Philosophy: an essay that offers my own answers to 6 major questions in philosophy
- The Enlightenment Thinkers
- What's Happening to This World?
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