GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMICSNEW IDEAS AND CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT BY ENLIGHTENMENT THINKERS
GOVERNMENT DURING THE ENLIGHTENMENT• Before the Enlightenment most leaders were absolute monarchs meaning they ruled the country on their own with no say from anyone else.• Leaders believed they could rule by divine rights meaning that God made them the leader and therefore no one could question their power.• Many leaders also had strong connections to the church or controlled the religion in their countries.• The average person had little say in the government and no control over their own lives.
THOMAS HOBBES• Hobbes had a negative view of humanity and life.• He believed that people were generally mean spirited and needed one strong leader to rule over them and keep them in control.• Hobbes felt government was the only thing that kept life civilized. The government needed to control the people as much as possible.
JOHN LOCKE • Locke felt that people deserved to be listened to and have their voice heard. • Locke said the role of the leader was to protect peoples natural rights • If the leader did not protect the peoples natural rights than Locke believed the people had the right to overthrow the leader (this is a type of social contract).
JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU• Rousseau believed that a social contract existed between the people and the leader.• The social contract meant that the people agreed to let the ruler be in charge on certain terms. If the leader broke those terms than the leader no longer had the right to rule and could be overthrown by the people.
BARON MONTESQUIEU • Montesquieu believed it wasnt a good idea to have one person in charge of all parts of government. • Montesquieu believed in separation of powers meaning that different parts/branches of government should be run by different people this way no branch could get too powerful and they could all keep each other in check.
ADAM SMITH• Adam Smith had new ideas about the economy that became the foundation for capitalism.• Smith believed in laissez-faire which meant he believed the government should leave the economy alone and let business regulate itself.• Smith believed if the economy was left alone any problems would work themselves out and the nation would prosper.
KEY POINTS• There were many new ideas about government, and not all Enlightenment thinkers agreed on these ideas.• Many thinkers did believe people should have more say in the government and leaders should have less power.• Ideas such as natural rights, separation of church and state, and separation of powers are still a part of our government today and were ideas that America was founded on.• Adam Smiths ideas about laissez - faire economies became the foundation for many modern thoughts about economics and how businesses should be run.