Jada: Political Philosophy and Social Contract Essay example

Submitted By Fancy-Huhh'
Words: 1023
Pages: 5

Jada Lewis
World History
Coach Mac
B1
September 27,2013

Enlightenment

Some of the famous philosophers who wrote works on their social and political philosophies were Thomas Hobbes, Baron de Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke. These political philosophers each had unique views of the human race and how it should be disciplined to create the best society. These philosophers not only profoundly influenced European views and history, but also that of America, where the colonists drank up the philosopher's words. The American Revolution was a big step in the promotion of enlightened ideas because for the first time, we were going beyond the mere discussion of enlightened ideas and were actually putting them into practice. By taking hold of the reigns of their own government, the colonists were going to be the first to experiment with the ideas that were raging throughout Europe at the time.

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” John Locke. He was born on August 29, 1632, in Wrington, Somerset, England, went to Westminster school and then Christ Church, University of Oxford. At Oxford he studied medicine, which would play a central role in his life. He became a highly influential philosopher, writing about such topics as political philosophy, epistemology, and education. Locke's writings helped found modern Western philosophy. Shaftsbury's influence on Locke's professional career and his political thoughts cannot be understated. As one of the founders of the Whig party, which pushed for constitutional monarchism and stood in opposition to the dominant Tories,Shaftsbury imparted an outlook on rule and government that never left Locke. In Locke's landmark, Two Treatises of Government, put forth his revolutionary ideas concerning the natural rights of man and the social contract. Both concepts not only stirred waves in England, but also impacted the intellectual underpinnings that formed the later American and French revolutions. As England fell under a cloud of possible revolution, Locke became a target of the government. While historical research has pointed to his lack of involvement in the incident, Locke was forced to leave in England in 1683 due to a failed assassination attempt of King Charles II and his brother, or what later came to known as the Rye House Plot.

“A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.” Baron de Montesquieu He had an inherited fortune and time to write. And he mixed with Parisian higher society, where he was a celebrated conversationalist. He satirized French society. He criticized France's monarchical absolutism and the Church, offending authorities but adding to his popularity. He was a Catholic who believed that people should think for themselves. Montesquieu traveled through much of Europe to observe people and political constitutions. He stayed in England for eighteen months and praised Britain's constitutional monarchy. He was opposed to republicanism and disliked democracy, which he saw as mob rule. He saw government as benefiting from the knowledge of society's elite rather than a knowledge of breadth of experience drawn from the many. History in France was still being described as it had been in Medieval times, with supernatural causes, and Montesquieu defied this tradition. He was hopeful that reading history would divest readers of their prejudices and contribute to improvement in contemporary society. He wrote an essay titled "Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness and Decline of the Romans," which described Rome as the product of social, political and geographic conditions.

"Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death." Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau's contributions to political philosophy are scattered among various works, most notable of which are the Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, the Discourse on Political Economy, The Social…