Bill of rights:
Document that limit the power of the king
Independence of the U.S and its constitution
In the 18th century, the 13 British colonies on the east coast of North America organised the first colonial insurrection. They then established the first government to be founded on principles of equality and freedom.
The American colonists were unhappy with Britain for not allowing them to send representatives to Parliament and for imposing commercial monopolies and taxes (especially on tea).
The British decision to grant a monopoly on the sale of tea to a British company caused a rebellion in Boston known as the Boston Tea Party. In 1773, King George III sent an army to stop the rebellion.
To strengthen its position against Britain, delegates from the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia and drafted the United States Declaration of Independence (4 July 1776). This stated the duty of a government to respect the inalienable rights of its people.
After a long war and a defeat at Yorktown, Britain recognised the colonies' independence (1783), and George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789.
Constitution of the U.S:
The new United States created a written constitution in 1787 (the first in history) that ensured the separation of powers (executive, legislative and judicial), established a republican government headed by an elected president with broad powers, and a federal system of government.
The Constitution was completed with a Bill of Rights that guaranteed freedom of religion, press, speech and assembly, as well as the right to trial by jury. It also stated that no one could be deprived of life, liberty or property without proper court proceedings.
Frederick the Great of Prussia, Maria Theresa of Austria, Catherine the Great of Russia, Gustav III of Sweden and Charles III of Spain were all enlightened despots
Changes that the Enlightenment thinkers propose:
They opposed stratified society and argued that no one should inherit prestige or privilege or be entitled to them because of their ancestors.
They defended social mobility, equality of origin and personal merit.
They opposed mercantilism, which was based on the accumulation of precious metals asthe main source of wealth of a country, and defended agriculture and productive work as the source of national wealth (physiocracy).
They opposed state regulations and defended free trade (economic liberalism).
Criticism of despotism and the arbitrariness of absolutism.
Montesquieu proposed the separation of powers (legislative, executive and judicial), with an emphasis on the independence of judicial power.
Rousseau expressed the need for a social contract between the ruler and the individuals (constitution). He also defended the idea of popular sovereignty, meaning power comes from the free consent of all citizens, expressed through voting.
Voltaire defended the need for a parliament that limits the power of the monarch, and fiscal justice
It was an agrarian and manorial economy, its society was based on privileges and the government was an absolute monarchy.
Colonial trade, the European maritime trade to other continents, expanded considerably in the 18th century. British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese ships on new trade routes exchanged manufactured goods for raw materials from the colonies.
Some colonial products, such as sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton and cocoa, became commonly used in Europe.
The basis of colonial trade was triangular trade, which included the Atlantic slave trade. Slaves were taken from Africa to the Americas. There, they were sold and forced to work in terrible conditions on agricultural plantations in the Caribbean, Brazil and the British colonies in North America.
The financial benefits of colonial trade were extremely high and favoured the proliferation of merchants, bankers and moneylenders, as well as the development of banks and commercial companies.
This was because of greater agricultural production, general economic growth and fewer major epidemics, which resulted in a lower death rate and an increase in the birth rate.
Population growth increased agricultural production (the more consumers, the greater the demand), which, in turn, helped stimulate the economy.
Development of agriculture and manufacturing:
2 new systems of production:
The domestic system: Peasants were provided with the necessary raw materials and tools to make products in their workshops.
Factories: These were either state-run or privately owned, and had many workers to make specific products (usually luxury products).