The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to analyze previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms and that is why it was also called the "Age of Reason-. Out of this period came five concepts-reasons (English thinkers believed truth can be discovered by it), laws of nature govern everything (Natural Laws), happiness of mankind (anyone who lived by the natural laws received it), progress in society, and liberty (society could be set free). Through out this period came great Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke and Voltaire.
John Locke, the earliest Enlightenment thinker, was born in England in 1632. He was a political philosopher who criticized absolute monarchy and favored democracy. Because of his ideas Locke was put into exile like some other thinkers. His ideas not only influenced later Enlightenment thinkers, but also America and France because you can see that these ideas were expressed in the American Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. This was so because in his writing of "Two Treaties on Government- it was stated that people were born free with natural rights-life, liberty, and property. If the government or king were to fail that, the people had the right to over throw them with no shame. That is why he encouraged a limited monarchy because then if powers were separated, the king would not have so much power. .
Voltaire was also an Enlightenment thinker who took after the idea of natural rights. His real name was Franzois Marie Arouet and he was also a famous thinker. He wrote more than 70 books stating his ideas on political essays, philosophy, history, fiction, and drama. He was one of the biggest critics ever because he did not like France's class system, the idea of absolute monarchy, religious persecution, lack of schools, and the tax system.