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Which Enlightenment philosophers influenced democratic ideals?

Enlightenment philosophers who influenced democratic ideals include John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Montesquieu.

John Locke, an English philosopher, is often considered the father of liberal philosophy. His ideas about government's role and individual rights significantly influenced democratic ideals. Locke argued that the purpose of government is to protect individuals' natural rights to life, liberty, and property. He believed that if a government fails to protect these rights, the people have the right to overthrow it. This idea of a social contract between the government and the governed is a fundamental principle of democracy.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French philosopher, also contributed to democratic ideals with his concept of the 'general will'. Rousseau argued that the best form of government is one where all citizens participate in making laws, reflecting the general will of the people. This idea of popular sovereignty, where power resides in the people, is a cornerstone of democratic governance.

Montesquieu, another French philosopher, proposed the idea of separation of powers in government. He argued that to prevent any one person or group from gaining absolute power, the functions of government should be divided among separate branches. This concept is a key feature of modern democracies, ensuring a system of checks and balances.

These Enlightenment philosophers' ideas have had a profound impact on the development of democratic ideals. Their concepts of individual rights, popular sovereignty, and separation of powers have shaped the structure and function of democratic governments around the world. Their influence can be seen in many democratic constitutions, including the United States Constitution and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Their ideas continue to guide discussions about the nature and purpose of democratic governance.

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