Enlightenment Thinkers Part 1


John Locke Although he lived only in the first 4 years of the 18th century, he is considered one of the thinkers of the age of Enlightenment due to the nature of his thoughts and his advanced vision. Because his father was directly on the side of the Republicans in the English Civil War, he was influenced by this view, and his influences were felt in his own political theory. In other words, Locke has revealed the foundations of bourgeois philosophy by criticizing aristocratic philosophy, that is, dogmatic patterns. In Locke's philosophy, which also provides the basis for his understanding of political thoughts, the state of nature occurs. He also explained societies, states, and theories about the state through this state of nature. According to him, the state of nature prevails in the order before civilized societies were formed, and natural law is used.

He criticized the ' view that the source of the rule was God". According to the State of nature, the source of management is the people. And these people have made a social contract in the process of transition to civilized society. In the case of the State of nature, no one is the property of anyone, everyone is the property of God, and whoever breaks the law of nature is harmed by this situation has the right to judgment and punishment. But the state of nature is troubled at this point because everyone has the right to punish injustice, this right can lead to a state of war. For this reason, people have accepted the Society convention to move to a civilized society, to eliminate this state of war, and to transfer the right to punishment.

Locke's theories of civilized state and state begin after this convention. Unlike Hobbes, who similarly mentions a state of nature, John Locke argues that private property existed before the social contract. Because in Locke's theories of government, the place of private property is very important. He associated private property with Labor and argued that people had the right to use a property that they worked for as they wanted. He also said that in the community contract there is a guarantee that the right to property will be better protected than before. Based on all this, Locke said that people moved from the state of nature, where freedom and property were not fully protected, to a civilized society, by the social contract. Judgment and punishment are taken from individuals themselves and given to society. And institutions should be created in society to implement laws after they are made. Because of this, legislative and executive powers have emerged. This is how the foundations of the separation of powers, which play an important role in Locke's theory of the state, were laid.

Locke mentions that there is 3 power in the administration of a civilized society. The first is a power of legislation similar to the parliament in England, the second is a power of the executive n the hands of the king, and the last is a federative power created to resolve disputes in the event of a war against the state of nature that continues in foreign policy. Separation of powers occurs in the form of giving the Legislature and the executive to separate persons or separate institutions. If the opposite happens, it is a great danger for the state that legislative and executive powers try to take on each other.

However, another Enlightenment thinker, Montesquieu, also put forward some theories of state during his time. Because Montesquieu came from a family of aristocratic origin, he wanted to defend his aristocratic privileges and took a stand against absolute monarchy. Montesquieu, who was in favor of Parliament and carried libertarian thoughts, unwittingly contributed to the rhetoric of the bourgeoisie. Because at that time, the bourgeois class also adopted a parliamentary and libertarian political view in the face of absolute monarchy. Montesquieu has mentioned three forms of governance in his political views. Republic, monarchy, and despotism. A republic is a form in which there is no monarch, democracy and aristocracy participate together. Monarchy, on the other hand, defines a more legitimate monarchy, unlike absolute monarchy. Despotism, on the other hand, is a form of government in which the king is not bound by any laws, similar to absolute

Montesquieu and Locke's theories of state are similar to the principle of separation of powers. Montesquieu was concerned about the absence of the intermediary institution between the king and the people, that is, the weakening of the aristocracy. Because of this situation and the violation of certain freedoms with it, the fact that every word of the King was considered law caused despotism. As a solution to this situation, he thought that the Legislature and the executive should be separated by an arrangement similar to that of the British constitution. These two men should have acted separately, but supported each other in the face of despotism.