Influence of the Enlightenment


A movement in the 18th century that advocated the use of reason in the reappraisal of accepted ideas and social institutions.

John Locke

English philosopher who advocated the idea of a "social contract" in which government powers are derived from the consent of the governed and in which the government serves the people; also said people have natural rights to life, liberty and property.

Baron de Montesquieu

believed government should have separation of powers

Separation of Powers

the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government

Natural Law

A doctrine that society should be governed by certain ethical principles that are part of nature and, as such, can be understood by reason.

Social Contract

An agreement between the people and their government signifying their consent to be governed

individual liberties

rights enjoyed by all people, such as life, liberty, and property

Founding Fathers

leaders who laid the groundwork for the United States