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What Specific Contributions Did Montesquieu, Voltaire And Diderot Make To The Age Of Enlightenment? Contrast Their Political Ideas With That Of Thomas Hobbes

485 words - 2 pages

In Montesquieu's first work, the Persian Letters, he criticized French institutions, especially the Catholic Church and the French monarchy. In this work he wrote about the attack on traditional religion, the advocacy of religious toleration, the denunciation of slavery and the use of reason to liberate humans from their own prejudices.In his most famous work, The Spirit of the Laws, he compared the types of government. Republics, which are suitable for small states and based on citizen involvement. Monarchy, suitable for middle sized states, grounded in the ruling class' adherence to law. Finally Despotism, for large empires, dependent on fear to ...view middle of the document...

Especially it's freedom of the press, political freedom and religious toleration. He criticized France's royal absolutism, lack of religious toleration and freedom of thought.Voltaire penned his Treatise on Toleration. In this, he states that religious toleration caused no problems for England and Holland. He also states that "all men are brothers under God." He believed that God created the world but allowed it ot run according to it's own natural laws.Diderot was a bold thinker in the Enlightenment. He condemned Christianity. He felt it was fanatical and unreasonable. Out of all religions, he said Christianity was the worst. He thought I was absurd and atrocious in its dogma. His contribution to the Enlightenment was a 28 volume Encyclopedia. He called this the treat work of his life. Its purpose was to change the general way of thinking. It attacked religious superstitions and advocated toleration. He wanted this work to lead to a more cosmopolitan, humane and reasonable society.Thomas Hobbes was a political thinker who believed in absolute authority. He wrote a treatise on political thought known as the Leviathan. Hobbes believed that human life was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Humans were guided by animalistic instincts wit ha ruthless struggle for self preservation. To save oneself from self destruction, they needed a sovereign authority, a single ruler. This person would serve as judge, legislator and executioner. Also, this absolute ruler possessed unlimited power.works citedSpeigl, Western Civ, vol 2

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