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The Enlightenment And The American Revolution

621 words - 3 pages

The American Revolution began in 1775 as conflict between Great Britain and the thirteen colonies broke out. Conflict arose among these people because Great Britain levied a series of numerous taxes on the people of the thirteen colonies. Great Britain did this to recover economically because previous wars had put them in great debt. Notable taxes put on the colonists include the Stamp Act and the Tea Act. Being induced by Enlightenment ideas of freedom and reason, the colonist declared the taxes unjust and fought against the oppression. As the fight continued, the revolutionary slogan of the colonist was born: “No taxation without representation.” In the end, the Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1783; the colonies had won their independence. The American Revolution was inevitable. Enlightenment principles were far too engraved in the colonist’s mind. The Enlightenment was what influenced the American Revolution and its results.
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As the new country moved toward the adoption of the Constitution, more Enlightenment ideals snuck their way into American politics. For example, Montesquieu’s idea of the separation of powers between the three branches of government was adopted in the United States Constitution. It is obvious that Enlightenment ideas not only played a key role in the revolution, but also influenced the events that came after.
The Enlightenment also influenced the American revolution in terms of religion. Instead of one all powerful church, the American revolution created religious tolerance.This idea was also acquired from John Locke, which was found in A Letter Concerning Toleration. In it, Locke argued that government is was wrong in judging opposing religious doctrines, and that the faith of a person could not be coerced. Locke also stated in his writing that the result of attempting this would be greater religious and political discord. As a result, Locke thought that government should protect the people’s liberty of the right to worship as one chooses and refrain from establishing an official state-sanctioned church. Influenced by the Enlightenment thinker, the idea of not being tied to one religious authority, but instead giving the people the right to choose, establish, and maintain their own personal connection with God was established.
The influence of the Enlightenment was crucial in determining almost every aspect America’s politics, government, and religion. Core concepts obtained from the Enlightenment include natural rights, freedom, and new ways of thinking. Adopted by the Founding Fathers, these ideas set the colonist on their way towards the American revolution and later to the United States as the people dreamed of creating their own futures. The United States would be drastically different if these central concepts of the Enlightenment did not shape the country in its primitive years. The American Revolution and almost all aspects of today's life were influenced by Enlightenment ideals and its Enlightenment thinkers at the time. Enlightenment principles became the future for the modern-day America where we live in today, where we can find these ideologies deeply rooted into the nation.

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