Discuss the American Revolution as a European Movement
The American Revolution was and always will be the most important piece of history for the United States of America. It was definitely revolutionary. The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was one of these paradigm historical shifts, challenging the traditional notions of authority by investing reason with the power to change the human condition for the better. The Enlightenment also shows that the American’s colonies were influenced by European ideals and political developments, and in turn the American’s colonies also influence Europe. Across the Atlantic, the Enlightenment had a profound impact on the English colonies in America and ultimately on the infant nation of the United States. “The Enlightenment challenged the role of religion and divine right and this helped Colonial America to see that it was possible to challenge the King and divine right. The movement challenged the role of God and allowed people to see that they were important and had the ability to shape their own lives.” (“The Great Awakening…”, Journal) In many ways, the new United States was the Enlightenment, for its leaders could actually implement many of the ideas that European philosophers could only talk idly about. First, the Enlightenment helped to shape the colonies was in terms of religion. With the Great Awakening came a new understanding of America’s early relationship to God and the Church. Instead of one all-powerful church that almost required membership, Protestant ideals based on Enlightenment principles of free will and freedom from institutions allowed people to choose membership in a church rather than be forced into one. Although during the Enlightenment there was a very secular focus, in America this was not the case. The colonies were still very religious but they used the ideas of their freedom to choose that were based on the Enlightenment. Instead of being tied to one...
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