Chapter 20, Section 3
The Enlightenment
Standard: 7.11.4
  • Explain how the main ideas of the Enlightenment can be traced back to such movements as the Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution, and to the Greeks, Romans, and Christians.
The Enlightenment


rebel: to oppose or fight against someone in authority

John Locke: English philosopher who argued that people formed governments to protect their natural rights.

natural rights: rights that no government can take from them

Montesquieu: French philosopher whose ideas government was composed of three branches (legislature, executive, and judicial).

social contract: an unwritten agreement between people and their government that describes the rights and duties of each

laissez faire: the policy that the economy should be free from governmental regulations

  1. Political Thought

      John Locke

    • People are rational, independent, and have natural rights
    • thought people formed governments to protect their rights (rebel)

      Baron de Montesquieu

    • ideal government was composed of three branches
    • legislative (made laws), executive (carried out laws), judicial (interpreted laws)

      Jean Jacques Rousseau

    • society existed because its members agreed to live together
    • people too often lost liberty to governments
    • governments should be based on the will of the people

  2. Social and Economic Thought


    • the need for religious tolerance
    • "are we not all [...] of the same God?"

      Mary Wollstonecraft

    • Men and women were equal in their ability to reason
    • Women should be allowed an education

      Adam Smith

    • an economy works best when it's a free economy
    • laissez faire = "leave alone" economy free from government regulations

Summary: Enlightenment thinkers developed key ideas about natural rights, balanced government, and the social contract. Enlightenment thinkers applied reason to the study of society and the economy.

Study Guide Questions

  • CP 577. What natural rights did the Enlightenment philosophers identify?

  • CP 579. What were two improvements promoted by enlightenment thinkers?

  • CYP 579, 1a. How did the Scientific Revolution give rise to the Enlightenment?

  • CYP 579, 1b. How did the Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke and Rousseau define good government and the rights of citizens?

  • CYP 579, 2a. What ideas did Voltaire, Wollstonecraft, and Smith Support?

  • CYP 579, 2b. What made each of these thinkers a reformer?

    Practice Test

  • Homework: Read chapter 20, section 3, and choose one assignment;
    1. Workbook Chapter 20, section 3 (Page 258)
    2. Answer three of the study guide questions using complete sentences.
    3. Draw a picture of something important from this section and summarize this section of the text (three sentences minimum).