Many historians choose to define the Enlightenment era essentially as the beginning of modern political thought as we know it today. The period in the 18th century saw the development of defining principles of modern Conservatism and Liberalism through philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke. However, an issue arises with strictly defining this period as the base of all modern political concepts. By looking at Europe in the early modern period as a whole, starting with the Renaissance to the works of the Enlightenment, ideas which potentially evolved into later political philosophy can be traced through published theories, literature, and art. Starting with sparks of Christian Humanism in the Northern Renaissance, the progression of state external sovereignty principles in the aftermath of religious conflict, to Absolutist theories of government structure, political ideas presented themselves in a myriad of ways. It becomes evident that the development of political thought occurred continuously throughout the early modern period.