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Jean –Jacques Rousseau

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  1. Jean –Jacques Rousseau • Wrote the Social Contract • Humans in their original state of nature were happy and possessed natural rights. • Natural innocence was corrupted by evils of society. • Government should have minimal control and only freely elected governments should impose the controls. • If a government fails in this purpose (to carry out the General Will), the people have the right to overthrow and replace it.

  2. Baron de Montesquieu • His book On the Spirit of Laws was his most famous. • Saw despotism (tyrannical rule) as the danger for a government. • Believed government elected by the people was the best type of government. • Separation of powers would create stability in a government. • Branches should check the power of each other.

  3. Thomas Hobbes • Wrote the Leviathan • Argued that people were naturally cruel , greedy and selfish. • Humans needed to be controlled or they would fight, rob and oppress each other. • Believed life in the state of nature without laws or control would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. • Humans enter into a social compact to surrender their freedom to a ruler and granted the ruler absolute power in order to enable the ruler to maintain law and order. • Since the ruler was not a party to the contract, the people have no right to complain about the ruler’s policies. • Hobbes supports Royal Absolutism

  4. John Locke • He wrote Two Treatises of Government. • Turn to page 11 and read John Locke's’ Second Treaties of Government. Answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper and turn it in.

  5. The Social Contract Theory • The state arose out of a voluntary act of free people. • The state exists to serve the will of the people. • The people are free to give or withhold the power as they choose. • The theory promotes popular sovereignty, limited government and individual rights.

  6. John Locke • Wrote Two Treatises of Government. • Argued people formed governments to protect their natural rights. • Natural rights: life, liberty, and property. • Best government= limited power and accepted by all citizens. • If government fails its obligations or violates its people’s natural rights, the people have the right to overthrow that government