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Period: The 18th Century

The 18th century was extremely important both for the development of ideas about liberty and for the creation of institutions which made liberty possible. The major historical events and intellectual movements of that time, which influenced the development of liberty, include the following:

  • the Enlightenment, a movement of criticism and reform which had a profound impact in Europe and North America. Abuses in the Church and in the Old regime were exposed, criticised, and reformed (in some cases overthrown)
  • the American Revolution, which in many respects was an attempt to put enlightened ideas into practice, especially with the new form of republican government with its separation of powers, written constitution and bill of rights
  • the French Revolution, which began like the American, to create a government limited by a constitution and bill of rights, but which quickly degenerated into the Terror, war, and imperial expansion and conquest
  • the beginnings of modern economic thought with the Physiocrats and work of Adam Smith

118 People in this Group:

sort name ↑ name   birth   death  
Adams John Adams 1735 1826
Addison Joseph Addison 1672 1719
Alembert Jean Le Rond d’ Alembert 1717 1783
Anon. (Montesquieu’s Editor) Anon. (Montesquieu’s Editor) ? ?
Bach J Johann Sebastian Bach 1685 1750
Bailey N N. Bailey ?
Barbeyrac Jean Barbeyrac 1674 1744
Beattie J James Beattie 1735 1803
Beaumarchais Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais 1732 1799
Beccaria C Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria 1738 1794
Blackstone W Sir William Blackstone 1723 1780
Blake W William Blake 1757 1827
Blewhitt George Blewhitt ? ?
Brown John John Brown 1715 1766
Burke Edmund Burke 1729 1797
Burlamaqui J Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui 1694 1748
Butler J Joseph Butler 1692 1752
Cantillon Richard Cantillon 1680 1734
Clarkson Thomas Clarkson 1760 1846
Condillac Étienne Bonnot, Abbé de Condillac 1714 1780
Condorcet Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet 1743 1794
Coxe T Tench Coxe 1755 1825
Coyer Gabriel François, abbé Coyer 1707 1782
Da Ponte L Lorenzo Da Ponte 1749 1838
De Lolme J Jean Louis De Lolme 1741 1806
Defoe Daniel Defoe 1661 1731
Dickinson John Dickinson 1732 1808
Du Pont de Nemours Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours 1739 1817
Emerson W William Emerson 1769 1811
Ferguson Adam Ferguson 1723 1816
Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte 1762 1814
Findley W William Findley 1742 1821
Fordyce David Fordyce 1711 1751
Franklin B Benjamin Franklin 1796 1790
Galiani Ferdinando Galiani 1728 1787
Galloway Joseph Galloway 1731 1803
Gerry E Elbridge Gerry 1744 1814
Gibbon Edward Gibbon 1737 1794
Gillray J James Gillray 1756 1815
Godwin William William Godwin 1756 1836
Gordon Thomas Thomas Gordon 1692 1750
Gouges Marie-Olympe de Gouges 1748 1793
Hamilton A Alexander Hamilton 1757 1804
Hanson A Alexander Contee Hanson 1749 1806
Hazeland William Hazeland ? ?
Helvétius Claude-Adrien Helvétius 1715 1771
Holcroft Thomas Holcroft 1745 1809
Hollis Thomas Hollis 1720 1774
Home Henry Home, Lord Kames 1696 1782
Hume David Hume 1711 1776
Hutcheson Francis Hutcheson 1694 1746
Iredell J James Iredell 1751 1799
Jay John Jay 1745 1829
Jefferson Thomas Jefferson 1743 1826
Kant Immanuel Kant 1724 1804
Knox Vicesimus Knox 1752 1821
Lee Richard Richard Henry Lee 1732 1794
Leonard Daniel Leonard 1740 1829
Mably G Gabriel Bonnet Abbé de Mably 1709 1785
Macaulay C Catharine Macaulay 1731 1791
Madison James Madison 1751 1836
Mandeville Bernard Mandeville 1670 1733
Mason G George Mason 1725 1792
Mathon de La Cour C Charles-Joseph Mathon de La Cour (Fortuné Ricard) 1738 1793
Maxwell John Maxwell ? ?
Melmoth W William Melmoth 1710 1799
Melon Jean-François Melon 1675 1738
Millar John John Millar 1735 1801
Misc (Declaration of Independence) Misc (Declaration of Independence) 1776
Montesquieu Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 1689 1755
Moor J James Moor 1712 1779
Morris Gouverneur Morris 1752 1816
Mozart W Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 1791
Nugent T Thomas Nugent 1700 1777
Otis J James Otis 1725 1783
Paine Thomas Paine 1737 1809
Paley William Paley 1743 1805
Pluche Noël-Antoine Pluche 1688 1761
pope A Alexander Pope 1688 1744
Pownall T. Pownall ? ?
Price Richard Price 1723 1791
Priestley J Joseph Priestley 1733 1804
Ramsay David Ramsay 1749 1815
Randolph E Edmund Randolph 1753 1813
Raper M Matthew Raper ? 1798
Raynal Guillaume-Thomas-François, abbé Raynal 1713 1796
Reid T Thomas Reid 1710 1796
Robertson William William Robertson 1721 1793
Roland J Jeanne Marie Roland de la Platière 1754 1793
Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 1778
Saint-Lambert Jean-François Saint-Lambert 1716 1803
Saint-Pierre Charles Irénée Castel, abbé de Saint-Pierre 1658 1743
Sale G George Sale 1697 1736
Schiller F Friedrich Schiller 1759 1805
Shaftesbury Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury 1621 1683
Smith Adam Adam Smith 1723 1790
Smith M Melanchthon Smith 1744 1798
Smollett Tobias Smollett 1721 1771
Stewart Dugald Stewart 1753 1828
Theobald Lewis Theobald 1688 1744
Thomson A Alexander Thomson 1763 1803
Toland John Toland 1670 1722
Trenchard John Trenchard 1662 1723
Tucker J Josiah Tucker 1712 1799
Turgot Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot 1727 1781
Turnbull George Turnbull 1698 1748
Vattel Emer de Vattel 1714 1767
Volney Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, marquis de Volney 1757 1820
Voltaire Voltaire 1694 1778
Warren Mercy Otis Warren 1728 1814
Washington George Washington 1732 1799
Webster N Noah Webster 1758 1843
Webster P Pelatiah Webster 1725 1795
Wilkins C Charles Wilkins 1749 1836
Wilson J James Wilson 1742 1798
Wollaston W William Wollaston 1660 1724
Wollstonecraft Mary Wollstonecraft 1759 1797
Young Arthur Young 1741 1820