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Exhibit 5.5

According to Montesquieu every government should be framed to meet the needs and the character of the people under it. He considered that a separation of powers in the government was essential for safeguarding liberty. Thus one person would not possess the three powers of making, enforcing and judging the law. It was this quality of the English government that Montesquieu highly admired, as the three powers of government were well divided. He favored moderation.

Rousseau was a radical thinker who put forward revolutionary theories. Similar to Locke, he put forward the theory that government is based on a social contract, that is the consent of the governed. His ’social-contract’ theory became famous. According to Rousseau, the best form of government was a republic, because it was sensitive to the desires of the people. Though Rousseau is classed as a Deist, he was a lover of nature and accepted the Great Commandment that ’to love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself, is the sum of the law’. His motto was revolution rather than moderation. Along with other thinkers, Rousseau made pleas for liberty and nationalism. Napoleon Bonaparte has rightly commented that the French Revolution would not have taken place if Rousseau had never lived.


Revolutionary ideas regarding education were set forth in the 18th century. Church schools were criticized. There was an agitation for more general education through state schools. The famous American Thomas Jefferson also put forward similar views as those held by several Europeans on these matters.


During the 18th century, sharp criticism was leveled at accepted theories of business, of wealth and of what the state should or should not do regarding business. The mercantilists were attacked by the Physiocrats, a group of French writers who wanted to shift emphasis from commerce and the ’balance of trade’, to farming and mining. Protective tariffs and other methods by which the state could regulate business were opposed by them. They were in favor of greater liberty. They possessed the opinion that men had the right to work and trade freely, provided that they did not interfere with similar rights of others.

Exhibit 5.6
Adam Smith, the father of Economics

The Scotsman Adam Smith, explained the new economic freedom in his book The Wealth of Nations in 1776 which was a declaration of independence for industry. Smith advocated that freedom should be given to each employer of labor and each seller of goods, in order to advance the true wealth of a nation. Though the middle class was helped by The Wealth of the Nations, the condition of the lower classes became more miserable than ever. However it broke down mercantilism and propagated the concept of ’natural rights’ and ’natural laws’.

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5.0 - Introduction
5.1 Growth and Features of the Revolution
5.2 The Rationalist Spirit and the Contribution of Voltaire
5.3 Application of the Critical Spirit
5.4 Age of Enlightened Despots
5.5 Dates & Events
5.6 Points to Remember

Chapter 6


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