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WH 2-7

Page history last edited by Pam Merrill 4 years ago

Oklahoma Academic Standard 2. The student will analyze patterns of social, economic, political, and cultural changes during the rise of Western civilization and the Global Age (1400-1750 CE).

Objective 2.7  Analyze the impact of the Enlightenment on modern government and economic institutions, including the theories of Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Adam Smith.

In a Nutshell

This objective focuses on the ideas and impact of the major Enlightenment philosophers and writers. Students should understand that the ideas of the Enlightenment established the foundation for modern democratic forms of government  and the market theory of economics. Students should actively engage in comparing the similarities and differences of key Enlightenment writers and thinkers, applying their ideas to modern practices.

Teacher Action 

Student Action 

  • Assist students to distinguish between long-term causes and triggering events on historical developments, such as the changes brought about by Enlightenment philosophers 

  • Provide opportunities for students to explain the concept of the “rule of law” and how limits on government authority guarantee individual liberties. 

  • Analyze the roles of specific individuals and groups who shaped historically significant events, both nationally, regionally, and on a global scale. 

  • Investigate and propose answers to essential questions representing enduring issues across the social studies disciplines, such as "What is the purpose and role of government?"

  • Compare and analyze civic virtues and democratic principles in historic and global settings, explaining how they influence various political systems. 

Key Concepts 


  • Enlightenment as a period in which ideas of religion, nature, and humanity were organized into a world view

  • Thomas Hobbes- The Leviathan

  •  John Locke - Two Treatises of Government

  • Voltaire- Treatise of Tolerance

  •  Jean Jacques Rousseau- Social Contract 

  • Montesquieu- Spirit of the Laws 

  • Adam Smith- concept of the "Invisible Hand” 

  • Many students have prior knowledge of Enlightenment thought including concepts developed by John Locke; however, they may not realize that many ideas were not the sole result of individual thinkers but were prevalent among many European philosophers and society.


Instructional Resources

Access suggested instructional resources correlated to standard and objective.


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