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Describe a principle that the philosophies of Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau have in common.

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Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau all believed that in order for societies to prevent despotic rule, a term coined by Montesquieu, but understood to mean dictatorial tyranny, governments must not be based on the brute strength or power of a king or military dictator, or based on the rules of powerful men who may change their minds and thus the law as they see fit. This kind of rule, according to all three men, made ordinary citizens live in fear and uncertainty.

To prevent men from living in fear of one another, Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu believed that societies must be based on social contracts, or what Montesquieu called a constitution, which would outline the laws of the land, and set in stone what rights the people and the state had.

In other words, all three of these men put forth philosophies of government that were founded on certain principles, which everyone in a society would have to agree upon. Each society would derive its legitimacy from these founding principles and laws, which would protect certain basic rights and outlaw certain actions, so that even a monarch or authoritarian ruler would have limits on his power.

Although Montesquieu was the only one of these three to describe a "constitution," both Locke and Rousseau believed that a "social contract" or "social compact" was necessary. The ideas behind these two concepts were similar, and the philosophies of all three of these men served as the basis for what we now call representative democracies, or republics.

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