Magna Carta Essay

583 words - 3 pages

Ideas from English history and the Enlightenment influenced the foundation of American democracy. Documents and events were two principles of English history that created lasting effects with its political ideas and changes in law. Enlightenment thinkers, such as John Locke, Baron De Montesquieu, and Jean Jacques Rousseau, developed key ideas about natural rights, balanced government, and the social contract. Both concepts impacted the foundation of the American democracy, as it was strongly portrayed in the document, the Declaration of Independence.
In English history, ideas about political rights and good government were rooted in documents and events. For example, the Magna Carta indicated that the king and nobles must respect the law, while the English Bill of Rights stated the Parliament alone had the power to make levy taxes and government rules. Another document that created lasting changes was the Declaration of Independence, which gave people the right to overthrow an unjust government and replace it. It allowed colonists to rebel against colonial rule and declare independence against Great Britain. These ideas of English history that emerged in England paved the way for the founding of the first American democracy.
Enlightenment, an intellectual movement, emphasized the application of reason to the study of human society. Philosophers that were part of Enlightenment believed that natural laws governed human affairs, so they started developing new ideas about the purpose of the government. Some important Enlightenment thinkers that were well-known for their work were John Locke, who argued that people formed governments to protect their natural rights, Baron de Montesquieu, a nobleman that took Locke’s ideas one step further by focusing on ways to promote liberty, and Jean Jacques Rousseau, a French philosopher that revived the social contract, which was an unwritten agreement...

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