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The Enlightenment, British Government, & The American Revolution. The Glorious Revolution of 1688. King James II of England overthrown by William and Mary Peaceful revolution- James split to France A.K.A. “The Bloodless Revolution”. Results of Glorious Revolution.

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The Enlightenment, British Government, & The American Revolution

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The Enlightenment, British Government, & The American Revolution

The Glorious Revolution of 1688

  • King James II of England overthrown by William and Mary

  • Peaceful revolution- James split to France

  • A.K.A. “The Bloodless Revolution”

Results of Glorious Revolution

  • English Bill of Rights- 1689

  • CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY: Listed what a ruler could not do

  • Limited power of the monarchy (king/queen)

  • Individual rights protected- due process of law

England’s Limited Democracy

  • Monarch’s power was balanced by power of the cabinet and parliament

  • Cabinet- executive committee that linked the king and Parliament

  • Parliament- made up by House of Lords (hereditary) and House of Commons (elected)

  • Prime minister- head of majority party in Parliament

  • Each had to answer to one another, no single authority

Britain built a worldwide empire

  • Wealthy merchants and businessmen dominated British government

  • The best way to make $$$ was colonies

  • Why colonies?

    Land, Raw Materials, Trade, Power

British world empire

North America- Early 1700s

The British took control of North America after French and Indian War (a.k.a. Seven Year’s War 1756-163)


Why did Britain want to maintain control over the colonies?


To make a profit through trade and gain land

British Colonization


What did the British do to ensure a profit from their American colonies?


Taxes, Taxes, Taxes!

Trade only with British merchants and no other countries, called mercantilism

The American Colonies

The Colonist Reaction- What did they do?

  • Rebel, Rebel, Rebel

  • Before you have a rebellion, what do you need?

    Motivation, Ideas, Leaders!!!

Boston tea party

The American Revolution- 1776


Upon whose Enlightenment ideas did the colonists base their actions for revolution?

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

  • Wrote: Leviathan

  • People naturally wicked

  • Social contract

  • Absolute monarchy is best gov’t

  • “humans are driven by a perpetual and restless desire for power that ceases only in death.”

John Locke (1632-1704)

  • Wrote: Two Treatises on Government

  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property

  • Gov’t by the consent of the people

  • Right to rebel & form new gov’t

  • Gov’t divided into 3 branches

  • “the natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth…”

Montesquieu (1689-1755)

  • Wrote: On the Spirit of Laws, 1748

  • Separation of powers: executive (president)

    judicial (courts)

    legislative (congress)

  • Basis for U.S. Constitution

  • “When the lawmaking & law-enforcing powers are united in the same person…there can be no liberty.”

Rousseau (1712-1778)

  • Wrote: The Social Contract

  • People are born good

  • The only legitimate gov’t gets its power from the consent of the people

  • Direct democracy preserves people’s freedoms

  • “Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

  • Wrote: A Vindication of the Rights of Women

  • All people equal

  • Society benefits from equality of men and women

  • Every person could be his or her own master

  • Education is very important

  • “society will not be whole until the last king is strangled with the guts of the last priest.”

The Declaration of Independence 1776


The Declaration can be broken into three parts:

  • Beliefs

  • Facts/Evidence

  • Actions to be taken

Answer the following questions:

Section 1: Beliefs

1.What do the colonists believe they have a right to do? Why?

Section 2 (starts with “He…”): Facts/Evidence

2. Who is the “He” that the authors refer to?

  • What are some things “He” did to cause the colonists to write the declaration?

    Section 3 (starts with “We, therefore,”): Actions

    4. What are the colonists going to do now that they’ve established their beliefs and listed the evidence?

5. List at least 3 phrases in the Declaration of Independence that are evidence of enlightenment thinking.

Enlightenment thinking?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Declaration of Independence- 1776

“…Laws of Nature and Nature’s God…”

“all Men are created equal…”

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Government.”





“…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive… it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”


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