Many of these were shared with European Enlightenment thinkers, but in some instances took a uniquely American form. He demands the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while denouncing the British government for not granting the colonies equal representation.
Societies could be restructured for the betterment of all citizens through rational application of ideas. Americans put them into practice first. Hutcheson's ideas of ethics, along with notions of civility and politeness developed by the Earl of Shaftesburyand Addison and Richard Steele in their Spectatorwere a major influence on upper-class American colonists who sought to emulate European manners and learning.
Franklin was a staunch defender of federalism, a critic of narrow parochialism, a visionary leader in world politics and a strong advocate of religious liberty. The Great Awakening in Colonial America In the mid s, the colonies saw many spiritual and religious revivals.
Both informed early American ideas of government and were major influences on the Constitution.
Now the idea spread that the nation should govern itself. In that age of classical thinking the European philosophers studied with great zeal the institutions of modern government with the same intensity with which scientists such as Newton had probed the mysteries of the universe and the worlds of physics and mathematics.
These included cutting off trade opportunities, imposing taxes without consent, denying people trial by jurywaging war against colonial towns, and other actions Jefferson and the Continental Congress perceived as tyranny. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. Tiring of religious wars particularly as the 16th century French wars of religion and the 17th century Thirty Years WarEuropean Enlightenment thinkers imagined an age in which enlightened reason not religious dogmatism governed relations between diverse peoples with loyalties to different faiths.
Deism[ edit ] Both the Moderate Enlightenment and a Radical or Revolutionary Enlightenment were reactions against the authoritarianismirrationality, and obscurantism of the established churches.
He was not content with the approach of Puritans who remain within the fold of the Anglican church and attempted to reform from within. In the Two Treatises on Government andLocke argued against the divine right of kings and in favor of government grounded on the consent of the governed; so long as people would have agreed to hand over some of their liberties enjoyed in a pre-political society or state of nature in exchange for the protection of basic rights to life, liberty and property.
Their political ideas spawned the age of the Enlightened despots, people like Frederick the Great of Prussia and Catherine the Great of Russia, both of whom were enlightened more in theory than in fact, it may be said. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Baron de Montesquieu declared that power should not be concentrated in the hands of any one individual. Here the belief was that God gave salvation to everyone and not just a chosen group. Before the consensus was that liberalismespecially that of John Lockewas paramount; republicanism was largely ignored.
John Adams and James Madison perpetuated the elitist and anti-democratic idea that to invest too much political power in the hands of uneducated and property-less people was to put society at constant risk of social and political upheaval.
James Madison summed up this ideal in saying, "Conscience is the most sacred of all property. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
These two principles are like two opposite poles, and it is the conflict between them that determines the course of the modern world. In fact, the upheaval of the Age Enlightenment would ripple around the world, and not just in political arenas. All later revolutionary movements have this same goal In making his case, Jefferson cited actions committed by George III that he felt clearly demonstrated how England had failed the colonies.
Rousseau 's influence was marginal. American intellectuals began to absorb these ideas.
Pocock's view is now widely accepted. In the late 17th century, scientists like Isaac Newton and writers like John Locke were challenging the old order.
A neoclassical politics provided both the ethos of the elites and the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile, and accounts for the singular cultural and intellectual homogeneity of the Founding Fathers and their generation.
May demonstrate that Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding was far more widely read than were his political Treatises. Kings did not rule by divine right.
A nation in which individualism, self-reliance, and freedom from tight government control were normal, enlightened political thought such as Republicanism found fertile ground in which to develop.
The idea for the three branch system outlined in the U. Enlightenment ideas were introduced to the colonists and diffused through Puritan educational and religious networks especially through Yale College in They had an obligation to their subjects.
Constitution, a man of letters, a politician, a scientist and a diplomat who left an enduring legacy on American philosophical thought.
Influenced as it was by the British and French, American Enlightenment thought integrates both moderate and radical elements. John Locke defended the displacement of a monarch who would not protect the lives, liberties, and property of the English people.The Effect of the Age of Enlightenment - The effect of the Age of Enlightenment was to inspire freedom movements across Europe and the Americas.
Read about the effects of Enlightenment thinking.
The Enlightenment in Colonial America The Enlightenment actually began in Europe and it reached colonial America more than a century later. In Europe, the Enlightenment was responsible for inspiring revived interests in education, science and literature.
The ideals of the Enlightenment had a major impact on the colonists and the founding fathers of the United States used many of these ideas in their new government. Major elements of our democracy, such as “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” came from Enlightenment writers like Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and Voltaire.
In America, intellectuals were reading these ideas as well. On their side of the Atlantic, Enlightened ideas of liberty and progress had a chance to flourish without the shackles of Old Europe.
Religious leaders began to change their old dogmatic positions. The Effect of the Age of Enlightenment - The effect of the Age of Enlightenment was to inspire freedom movements across Europe and the Americas.
Read about the effects of Enlightenment thinking. Aug 29, · Watch video · The American and French Revolutions were directly inspired by Enlightenment ideals and respectively marked the peak of its influence and the beginning of its decline.
The Enlightenment ultimately.Download