Enlightenment Figures


believed that people are naturally evil and selfish, an absolute monarchy is necessary to keep society under control, people give up power for law and order (social contract theory)


- The ideas of social contract and natural rights- Believed in the right to life, liberty, and property- These ideas inspired political thought


- (1689-1755) wrote 'Spirit of the Laws', said that no single set of political laws was applicable to all - Had the idea of a three-part system of government with a separation of powers


(1694-1778) French philosopher. He believed that freedom of speech was the best weapon against bad government. He also spoke out against the corruption of the French government, and the intolerance of the Catholic Church.


(1712-1778) Believed that society threatened natural rights and freedoms. Wrote about society's corruption caused by the revival of sciences and art instead of it's improvement. Wrote "The Social Contract.