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- Montesquieu and Rousseau were two of the philosophes during the Enlightenment that had a profound impact on Europe and the world. Although they came from different backgrounds, one a nobleman, the other a commoner, both were dissatisfied with the French kings' rule. Typical of the philosophers seeking to apply science to social reform, they treated governments as conditional, and applied the "state of nature" versus "society" criterion to decide the type of government to be established. Both also tried to find the scientific rules that govern the operation of governments.
- Because he decided that universal rules governing society manifested in the form of specific rules suited to specific countries, Montesquieu was sometimes called the father of modern anthropology. His ideas about the English government directly influenced the U.S. constitution. Rousseau's ideas would have a profound impact on the French Revolution, and his idea of sovereignty of the people not only influenced the U.S. government but also had a profound impact on the 20th century world, from Socialism to Nazism.
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