Chapter 20, Section 4
The Influence of the Enlightenment Ideas
Standard: 7.11.5
  • Describe how Democratic thought and institutions were influenced by enlightenment thinkers (e.g. John Locke, Charles Lewis Montesquieu, American founders).
Standard: 7.11.6
  • Discuss how the principles in the Magna Carta were embodied in such documents as the English Bill of Rights and the American Declaration of Independence.
The Influence of Enlightenment Ideas


principle: belief or idea on which a system of doing something is based

legislature: lawmaking body

veto: reject

repeal: officially abolished

Benjamin Franklin: He helped establish the postal system, libraries and hospitals, and volunteer fire departments. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and negotiated treaties with other nations.

  1. Roots of American Democracy

      The Magna Carta

    • protected English peoples rights from power-hungry rulers
    • no tax without approval, trial by jury, King must respect the law

      The English Parliament

    • the Parliament advised the King
    • Glorious Revolution of 1688-English Bill of Rights

      The English Bill of Rights

    • the parliament alone had the power to make laws and taxes
    • gave people the right to elect members of Parliament
    • placed limits on the power of the English monarch

      Colonial Government

    • based on the English government & Enlightenment ideas
    • government based on the will of the people
    • executive and judicial branch balanced the power of the legislature
    • legislatures found ways to deal with difficult governors

  2. The American Revolution

      Taxation Without Representation

    • Parliament taxed the colonies (Stamp Act)
    • colonies did not elect members of Parliament
    • 1775 fighting between Britain and colonies

      The Declaration of Independence

    • Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain - page 584.
    • colonies believed government received their power from the people
    • colonies believed people had the right to rebel against an unfair government

Summary: American colonial governments were influenced by English law and Enlightenment ideas. Inspired by these principles, colonial leaders signed the declaration of independence and separated from Great Britain.

Study Guide Questions

  • CP 582. In what ways did the English Bill of Rights influence government in the colonies?

  • CP 585. What was the purpose of the Declaration of Independence?

  • CYP 585, 1a. What two main influences provided the basis for government in England's American colonies?

  • CYP 585, 1b. How did the governments set up in the American colonies reflect Montesquieu's ideas?

  • CYP 585, 2a. Why did American colonists want to separate from Great Britain?

  • CYP 585, 2b. How do the ideas in the declaration of independence reflect the ideas of the Enlightenment?

    Practice Test

  • Homework: Read chapter 20, section 4, and choose one assignment;
    1. Workbook Chapter 20, section 4 (Page 261)
    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).