In the Eighteenth century, the thinkers of society were philosophers, clergymen, merchants and politicians. They theorized and wrote about philosophy, science, theology, economics, and politics. Their theories and ideas were influential and had a great impact on social thought. These theories and ideas were controversial and revolutionary in the Eighteenth century. 

Here are the top ten thinkers of Eighteenth century society.

Top Ten


Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

John Locke 

Thomas Jefferson 


David Hume 

Thomas Paine 

Benjamin Franklin 

Edmund Burke 

Isaac Newton

Honorable Mention:

Adam Smith 


Each of these people would revolutionize, and introduce modern thought in the Eighteenth century. Franklin and Newton were innovators of science, and mathematics. Hume, Paine, Burke, Locke, Walpole, Jefferson and Rousseau, would circumscribe new theories, facts and morals in politics and religion. Adam Smith wrote the blueprints for Eighteenth century economics.

Source: Research & text by Rick Brainard. Please visit his 18th Century History blog
sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, vol.18 pp.654-657, 1990 ed.; Notes from college course on European history
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