Jean Jacques Rousseau, Baron De Montesquieu, John Locke, and Cesare Beccaria influenced the American Revolution resulting in freedom, independence, and a better government for the United States.

  • Enlightenment philosophers who had a huge impact on the American Revolution

    Enlightenment philosophers who had a huge impact on the American Revolution
    The text state, “For Enlightenment thinkers themselves, however, the Enlightenment is not an historical period, but a process of social, psychological or spiritual development, unbound to time or place” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). The ideas of the French Enlightenment philosophes strongly influenced the American revolutionaries. Philosophes, like Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau were optimistic about democracy and their ideas encouraged the questioning of absolute monarchs.
  • Enlightenment philosophers who had a huge impact on the American Revolution Continued

    Enlightenment philosophers who had a huge impact on the American Revolution Continued
    The duty of that government is to protect the natural rights of the people, which Locke believed to include life, liberty, and property.
  • John Locke

    John Locke
    The text states, “The aim of such a legitimate government is to preserve, so far as possible, the rights to life, liberty, health and property of its citizens, and to prosecute and punish those of its citizens who violate the rights of others and to pursue the public good even where this may conflict with the rights of individuals” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
  • John Locke continued

    John Locke continued
    John Locke’s idea was that it was the job of the government to protect the people’s three basic rights, life, liberty, and property. When the government fails at doing so they can be resisted and replaced with new governments.
  • Baron De Montesquieu

    Baron De Montesquieu
    The text states, “He constructed a naturalistic account of the various forms of government, and of the causes that made them what they were and that advanced or constrained their development. He used this account to explain how governments might be preserved from corruption” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Baron De Montesquieu developed this idea that the government should be divided into different branches to preserve them from corruption.
  • Baron De Montesquieu Continued

    Baron De Montesquieu Continued
    By dividing the government up, they are able to check each other. Also by dividing the government up no one person has all of the power and can not become a tyrant.
  • Voltaire

    Voltaire
    The text states, “Voltaire contributed the ideas of freedom of religion, and separation of church and state to Democracy. Voltaire’s idea that religion can cause some very brutal acts is shown in his quote, ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Voltaire was an Enlightenment philosopher and a strong defender of civil liberties, freedom of religion and free trade.
  • Voltaire Continued

    Voltaire Continued
    If someone goes into power and worships a specific religion, they could force their religion all of their citizens. Voltaire had the idea of a separation from church and state so no one can force any religion on anyone else.
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau

    Jean Jacques Rousseau
    The text states, “The Social Contract by Rousseau, whose full title is The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right (1762) is an analysis of the contractual relationship to any legitimate government, so that are articulated principles of justice and utility to to reconcile the desire for happiness with the submission to the general interest” (Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophers) Jean Jacques Rousseau begins The Social Contract with the most famous words he ever wrote:
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau Continued

    Jean Jacques Rousseau Continued
    “Men are born free, yet everywhere are in chains.” From this provocative opening, Rousseau goes on to describe the myriad ways in which the “chains” of civil society suppress the natural birthright of man to physical freedom.
  • Cesare Beccaria

    Cesare Beccaria
    The text states, “The treatise discussed issues, government (crime and human rights) that were being widely expressed at that time, and was written in a manner that was both to the point and clearly understood.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Cesare Beccaria was an Enlightenment philosopher who anonymously published the treatise "On Crimes and Punishments".
  • Cesare Beccaria continued

    Cesare Beccaria continued
    He published it anonymously because he feared a political backlash, but once he found out that it was received and accepted by the government, did Beccaria have it published under his name.The treatise condemned torture and the death penalty and was a founding work in the field of penology. So no longer would people be killed for stealing a loaf of bread. They would receive a punishment that matched their crime.
  • The Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act
    The text states, “The Stamp Act 1765, passed by the British Parliament in 1765 was the first direct tax imposed on the British colonies in North America. The goal of the tax on printed material including newspapers, magazines, legal documents, insurance policies and many other types of paper material was to help finance for the British troops in the colonies.” (History Lists).
  • The Stamp Act 2

    The Stamp Act 2
    The colonists criticized the Stamp Act as "taxation without representation" because the British laws stated that the government could not tax without representation of the Parliament, and the colonists in America had no representation in Parliament either. This connects to John Locke’s idea that it is the government's job to protect the people’s three natural rights, life liberty, and property, and when the government fails to do that, it is the people’s job to rebel or revolt against them.
  • The Stamp Act 3

    The Stamp Act 3
    The government was taking the people’s money, which is their property, without their consent.
  • The Cause of the American Revolution

    The Cause of the American Revolution
    The text states, “The American Revolution occurred because The colonies weren't getting the representation that they wanted in the British government and Parliament” (Covaci).The British government decided to make the American colonies pay a large share of the war debt from the French and Indian War. Through the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and other taxes, the British tried to collect taxes that the American people considered harsh.
  • The Cause of the American Revolution 2

    The Cause of the American Revolution 2
    The American people also thought that they should be able to send their own people to Britain's Parliament or at least vote for Britain's lawmakers. The combination of the harsh taxes and the lack of an American voice in Parliament gave rise to the famous phrase "taxation without representation." The Enlightenment philosophers had a huge impact on the American Revolution and inspired the Founding Fathers to revolt against what they perceived as unfair British taxation.
  • The Cause of the American Revolution 3

    The Cause of the American Revolution 3
    Philosophes, like Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau were optimistic about democracy and their ideas encouraged the questioning of absolute monarchs.The duty of that government is to protect the natural rights of the people, which Locke believed to include life, liberty, and property.
  • America’s foundational legal documents

    America’s foundational legal documents
    The text states “America’s foundational legal documents—the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Bill of Rights—were themselves shaped by Beccaria’s treatise and its insistence that laws be in writing and be enforced in a less arbitrary manner…. Though On Crimes and Punishments is focused largely on the criminal law, the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights—written documents protecting individual rights—echo the Beccaria idea of a fixed code of laws” (Bessler)
  • The Declaration of Independence

    The Declaration of Independence
    The text states, “On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the members of the Continental Congress” (acpsd). The Declaration of Independence is an important part of American democracy because first it contains the ideals or goals of our nation. It also contains the complaints of the colonists against the British king.
  • The Declaration of Independence continued

    The Declaration of Independence continued
    Some of the founding father were heavily influenced by Jean Jacques Rousseau, his work inspired and shaped revolutionary sentiment in the American colonies. Thomas Jefferson used Rousseau’s social contract theory to justify his assertion of independence. The idea of consent stems from Rousseau’s On the Social Contract.
  • America’s foundational legal documents continued

    America’s foundational legal documents continued
    The first four U.S. Presidents, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, were inspired by Cesare Beccaria’s treatise. He believes that all individuals have free will and make choices on that free will. The first four presidents were all inspired by his ideas and used them to help create America’s foundational legal documents.
  • The Separation of Church and State Continued

    The Separation of Church and State Continued
    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. If someone goes into power and worships a specific religion, they could force their religion all of their citizens. Voltaire had the idea of a separation from church and state so no one can force any religion on anyone else.
  • The Separation of Church and State

    The Separation of Church and State
    The text states, “His major contribution to our founding fathers was his indefatigable quest for civil rights. He was an especially strong supporter of fair trials and the freedom of religion. These rights were also held in high esteem by the founding fathers” (Boerner). Voltaire was an Enlightenment philosopher and a strong defender of civil liberties, freedom of religion and free trade.
  • The Separation of Powers

    The Separation of Powers
    The text states,“The revolutionary idea of separation of powers, although unpopular at first, became a means by which this was to be accomplished” (National Center for Constitutional Studies). The idea behind the separation of powers is a man named Baron De Montesquieu. The separation of powers is there so the other branches can check on the other, Montesquieu's idea heavily influenced the founding fathers.
  • The Separation of Powers continued

    The Separation of Powers continued
    He said that the best way to secure liberty and prevent a government from becoming corrupted was to divide the powers of government among different people who would check each other.
  • Works Cited

    Nelson, Jeremy. “Separation of Powers.” National Center for Constitutional Studies, National Center for Constitutional Studies, 17 Sept. 1987, nccs.net/blogs/our-ageless-constitution/separation-of-powers. Bessler, John. “The Italian Enlightenment and the American Revolution: Cesare Beccaria's Forgotten Influence on American Law.” DigitalCommons@Hamline, digitalcommons.hamline.edu/jplp/vol37/iss1/1/.
  • Works Cited

    Covaci, Emilia. “Did the Enlightenment Impact the American Revolution?” Prezi.com, 15 Sept. 2016, prezi.com/lhbb-gpb5d92/did-the-enlightenment-impact-the-american-revolution/. “Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence Was Written by the Founders of Our Nation. It Is a Special Statement That Explains Why the Colonists Wanted to Be Independent.” Women in The American Revolution - Penelope Barker, score.rims.k12.ca.us/score_lessons/symbols_freedom/pages/doi.html.
  • Works Cited

    Costly, Andrew. “BRIA 20 2 c Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau on Government.”Constitutional Rights Foundation, www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-20-2-c-hobbes-locke-montesquieu-and-rousseau-on-government.html. “10 Key Events of the American Revolution.” 10 Stonehenge Facts and Information about Its History - History Lists, historylists.org/events/10-key-events-of-the-american-revolution.html.