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Influence Of The Enlightenment

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Influence of the Enlightenment on American History
The 18th century refers to as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. It also
relates to a time of the guiding intellectual movement. The Enlightenment entails one and half
a century in Europe that starts with Francis Bacon’s publication of the Novum Organum in 1620
and ends with Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. According to Kant,
“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the
inability to use one’s understanding without the guidance of another” (Kant 34). Further, this
period is also believed to have emerged with the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 and after
that ended with the French Revolution in 1789. The concepts that founded the age of
Enlightenment was that by using human intellects, rational decisions could be advanced on how
people and countries were to operate and societies could be reorganized for the benefits of
every citizen through reasonable application of ideas. In the 17th century, writers like John
Locke and other scientists such as Isaac Newton challenged the longstanding order of
conducting things in Europe. The intelligent leaders of the Age of Reason considered
themselves as a brave elite who were able to navigate the world into progress from lengthy
periods of doubtful traditions as well as the religious dictatorship that brought about the brutal
Thirty Years’ War and the English Civil War (Commager 103)

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The American Enlightenment was mainly influenced by the 18th century European
Enlightenment and its Native American philosophy. Some of the most notable European
Enlightenment figures include Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, Voltoire and Thomas
Hobbes and among others. Further, some of the most famous figures in the American
Enlightenment include Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander
Hamilton and John Adams among others (Commager 167). Moreover, The American
Enlightenment is also a period of intellectual ferment within the thirteen American colonies
around 1714 and 1818 which triggered the American Revolution and the American Republic.
Most importantly, the American Enlightenment used scientific reasoning to science, politics,
and religion. The ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers such as natural rights, social contracts,
revolution and reason had fundamental influence the philosophical foundations of the
American Revolution (Foner, 88). In fact, a strong argument can be made that without the
Enlightenment philosophical foundations of America, it is impossible to imagine how the
American history and the US would be today.
According to Schouls, to understand the influence of the Enlightenment on American
history, we have to consider the impacts of these ideas regarding politics, government, and
religion (22). In the absence of the initial ideas and intellectuals of the Enlightenment such as
Adam Johns and Thomas Jefferson, the American history would have changed radically since
this reasoning informed the nation in its final years. After and during the American Revolution,
most of the fundamental ideas of the Enlightenment formed the heart for great tracks, for
instance, the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of the Confederations. Furthermore,
the principles of freedom from oppression, liberty, natural rights and new methods of

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History Surname1 Name Professor Course Due Date Influence of the Enlightenment on American History The 18th century refers to as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. It also relates to a time of the guiding intellectual movement. The Enlightenment entails one and half a century in Europe that starts with Francis Bacon’s publication of the Novum Organum in 1620 and ends with Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. According to Kant, “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without the guidance of another” (Kant 34). Further, this period is also believed to have emerged with the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 and after that ended with the French Revolution in 1789. The concepts that founded the age of Enlightenment was that by using human intellects, rational decisions could be advanced on how people and countries were to operate and societies could be reorganized for the benefits of every citizen through reasonable application of ideas. In the 17th century, writers like John Locke and other scientists such as Isaac Newton challenged the longstanding order of conducting things in Europe. The intelligent leaders of the Age of Reason considered themselves as a brave elite who were able to navigate the world into progress from lengthy periods of doubtful traditions as well as the religious dictatorship that brought about the brutal Thirty Years’ War and the ...
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