Locke Montesquieu And Rousseau Essay

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During the enlightenment period in the 1600’s to the 1700’s, writers like Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau influenced some of America’s founding documents, including the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. During this time period, these writers had no idea that their works would impact such influential documents. The first document these writers influenced was the Virginia Declaration of Rights. On June 12, 1776, in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Virginia Convention unanimously agreed to adopt George Mason’s declaration of rights, now known as the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Much of the Virginia Declaration of Rights was influenced by the writings of John Locke. During…show more content…
Although he was the youngest present there, he was selected to be on a team of five to help draw up what is now known as the Declaration of Independence, due to his known writing skills. In Jefferson’s younger years, he often enjoyed reading about the government, which is why we see a large influence of other writers in his works. Jefferson, like Manson, looked to Locke 's idea of men having natural rights specifically with property and liberty by writing “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.” Locke’s idea of how government should get its power can be seen when Jefferson wrote “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The final way that Locke influenced Jefferson was Locke’s belief that the government should be overthrown when the government does not function for the people. This ideology can be found written that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.” Jefferson also looked to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, author of The Social Contract, for inspirations in his…show more content…
In the Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu lays out the idea to separate the government into three powers: the legislative; the executive, in respective to things dependent on the laws of nations; and the executive, regarding things dependent on civil laws. Today these there powers are known as the legislative, executive, and judicial powers. The Constitution states in Article 1, “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives,” Article 2, “the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows,” and Article 3, “the judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.” These three amendments outline the separation of the powers of government and how much power each branch has and the
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