1. Enlightened thinkers believed truth could be discovered through reason or logical thinking.
2. The philosophers referred to nature frequently. To them, what was natural was also good and reasonable. They believed that there were natural laws of economics and politics just as there were natural laws of motion.
3. A person who lived by nature’s laws would find happiness, the philosophers said. They were impatient with the medieval notion that all people should accept misery in this world to find joy in the hereafter. The philosophers wanted well-being on Earth, and they believed it was possible.
4. The philosophers were the first Europeans to believe in progress for society. Now that people used a scientific approach, they believed society and human kind could be perfected.
5. The philosophers envied the liberties that the English people had won in their Glorious Revolution and the Bill of Rights. In France, there were many restrictions on speech, religion, trade, and personal travel. Through reason, the philosophers believed, society could be set free.
1. Hobbes expressed his views in a work called Leviathan in 1651.
2. The horrors of the English Civil War convinced Hobbes that all humans were naturally selfish and wicked.
3. Without governments to keep order, Hobbes said, “there would be war every man against every man.” Hobbes said that life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, and short.”
4. Hobbes argued that to escape such a bleak life, people gave up their rights to a strong ruler. In exchange, they gained law and order. Hobbes called this agreement, by which people created government, the social contract.
5. Hobbes said the best government was one that had the awesome power of a Leviathan. In Hobbes’s view, such a government was an absolute monarchy, which could impose order and demand obedience.
1. John Locke held a different, more positive, view of human... [continues]
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