How Were Enlightenment Ideas Reflected in American Colonial Society and the Establishment of the United States?

Topics: Political philosophy, Thomas Jefferson, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 2 (481 words) Published: November 14, 2011
During the 18th century, a new era swept the world by storm. This era is know as the Enlightenment or sometimes known as The Age of Reason. Some of the people associated with the Enlightenment are Baron De Montesquieu, Voltaire, and John Locke. Some of the ideas related to the Enlightenment are limited government, freedom of speech, natural rights, and Separation of powers. Enlightenment ideas reflected in American colonial society in many ways which will further be explained in the following paragraphs. John Locke’s Enlightenment ideas were very influential to America. Locke believed in natural rights which are life, liberty, and property. Thomas Jefferson stated “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.” Locke also believed in a limited government. If a government was to fail its duties or was to violate natural rights, the people had the right to get rid of the government. That reflected on America because America has the right to impeach a president. Baron De Montesquieu published a book called The Spirit of the Laws. Montesquieu believed in democracy which is a government for the people by the people. Democracy is the government the United States has been using since they gained their independence. Montesquieu also believed in separation of powers and checks and balances. The United States government uses these systems today so that no one person gains too much control. In current U.S. government the three branches that separate the powers are the Legislative Branch (congress), the Executive Branch (President), and the Judicial Branch (Supreme Court). Voltaire believed in a little thing called freedom of speech. He thought that people should have the right to say what they thought (even though sometimes it can leave you in sticky situations). Freedom of speech ended up in the 1st amendment in the United States...
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