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SS.7.C.1.1 - The Influence of the Enlightenment

Reporting Category 1: Origins and Purposes of Law and Government

Reporting Category 1: General

Enlightenment Ideas: SS.7.C.1.1

Impact of Key Documents: SS.7.C.1.2

English Policies: SS.7.C.1.3

Declaration of Independence: SS.7.C.1.4

Articles of Confederation: SS.7.C.1.5

Preamble of the Constitution: SS.7.C.1.6

Separation of Powers and Checks & Balances: SS.7.C.1.7

Federalists and Anti-Federalists: SS.7.C.1.8

Rule of Law: SS.7.C.1.9

Sources & Types of Laws: SS.7.C.3.10

Reporting Category 2: Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities of Citizens

Reporting Category 2: General

Citizenship: SS.7.C.2.1

Obligations of Citizens: SS.7.C.2.2

Bill of Rights & Other Amendments: SS.7.C.2.4

Constitutional Safeguards & Limits: SS.7.C.2.5

Constitutional Rights: SS.7.C.3.6

13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th, & 26th Amendments: SS.7.C.3.7

Landmark Supreme Court Cases: SS.7.C.3.12

Reporting Category 3: Government Policies and Political Processes

Reporting Category 3: General

Political Parties: SS.7.C.2.8

Qualifications for Political Office: SS.7.C.2.9

Monitoring & Influencing Government: SS.7.C.2.10

Media & Political Communications: SS.7.C.2.11

Public Policy: SS.7.C.2.12

Multiple Perspectives: SS.7.C.2.13

U.S. Domestic & Foreign Policy: SS.7.C.4.1

Participation in International Organizations: SS.7.C.4.2

U.S. & International Conflicts: SS.7.C.4.3

Reporting Category 4: Organization and Function of Government

Reporting Category 4: General

Forms of Government: SS.7.C.3.1

Systems of Government: SS.7.C.3.2

Three Branches of Government: SS.7.C.3.3

Federalism: SS.7.C.3.4

Amendment Process: SS.7.C.3.5

Structure, Function, & Processes of Government: SS.7.C.3.8

Court System: SS.7.C.3.11

United States & Florida Constitutions: SS.7.C.3.13

Government Obligations & Services: SS.7.C.3.14


What You Need to Know:

Student Review Reading for SS.7.C.1.1

Recognize how Enlightenment ideas including Montesquieu’s view of separation of powers and John Locke’s theories related to natural law and how Locke’s social contract influenced the Founding Fathers.


Benchmark Clarifications:

  • Students will identify and describe the Enlightenment ideas of separation of powers, natural law, and social contract. Read more!
  • Students will examine how Enlightenment ideas influenced the Founders’ beliefs about individual liberties and government. Read more!
  • Students will evaluate the influence of Montesquieu’s and Locke’s ideas on the Founding Fathers. Read more!


Example One (Low Complexity)

The image below concerns government.

C11 Low

Which Enlightenment idea is represented by the image?

A. separation of powers

B. checks and balances

C. social contract

D. natural law


Example Two (Moderate Complexity)

The statements below are from the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights

C11 Moderate

Which statement reflects the Enlightenment ideas of government as expressed by Montesquieu?

A. 1

B. 2

C. 3

D. 4


Example Three (High Complexity)

How are the Enlightenment ideas that influenced the Founding Fathers reflected in modern institutions?

A. Colonies have been re-established to preserve popular sovereignty.

B. Oligarchies have increased to safeguard natural rights.

C. The United Nations promotes universal human rights.

D. The European Union encourages economic stability.


C.1.1 - Vocabulary

FL Joint Center for Citizenship

FLDOE Civics Tutorials



Declaration of Independence

courtesy of FL Department of Education


Discovery Education


  • Enlightenment Philosophers: Locke, Voltaire, and Montesquieu (total length: 3:23) from video: All About the Enlightenment: The Age of Reason

Civics on Demand


Textbook Review


Chapter 2, Section 3 - p. 43-48

Chapter 3, Section 2 - p. 93-97