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


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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.


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


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

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FLDOE Civics Tutorials



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