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The Effect On Enlightenment Ideals On The Development And Growth Of The American Government

762 words - 4 pages

The United States of America is a relatively young country compared to most of the world. It has only been habited for a little less than 400 hundred years and has been unified as we know it today for 230. The vast majority of this country's population has ancestors who immigrated to the US long ago. These people brought many ideas with them, and the knowledge of European philosophers. This was even before the Revolutionary War and the ideas of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau influenced the founding fathers of out country immensely when they were writing such important documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Although some American values today were not impacted ...view middle of the document...

By simply reading the Declaration of Independence, one can instantly tell the similarities between it and Locke's "Two Treatises on Government." The Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The last phrase is clearly analogous to Locke's "Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, liberty, or possessions." The phrase was slightly tweaked but has now become one of the crowning phrases of American society. Another example of Locke's writing in America today, is his concept of giving up some freedom for security. The government promises to protect your liberties and freedom in exchange for one's loyalty. Today, the US is based on this concept. By paying taxes and obeying the law, you give your loyalty to the government, for which they provide you with security. The philosophers of the Enlightenment were the founders of many ideas that are the foundation of our society and government today.Finally, the philosophers influenced the intellectual values of America today. Starting with Kant who declared, "There are only a few men who walk firmly...

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