How Did The Enlightenment Influence The American Revolution

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During the mid-eighteenth century, a tremendous wave of religious revival swept through the British colonies in North America. Coined “The Great Awakening”, it is thought to be the first mass social movement in American history. Although the movement was most prominent in the middle and southern colonies, it would continue on to have an immense impact on the entirety of the colonies. Much like the Enlightenment, the Great Awakening encouraged individual thought and the use of new ideas to question the authority, humanity, and government. This, in addition to the widespread beliefs of republicanism that had dispersed throughout the colonies, ultimately led to the American Revolution and the movement for independence later in the century. Furthermore, …show more content…
The Enlightenment emphasized liberalism, in which all humans had a natural right to freedom of religion, speech and press, and fair and equal treatment in law. The ideas that were most put to use out of the Enlightenment for the American Revolution were those of John Locke (1632-1704). Much like Jonathan Edwards, John Locke was one of the most influential figures in his cultural movement. Locke wrote about the natural rights to life, liberty, and property. To even further prove the point, John Locke preached the idea of the natural right to rebellion, which was an extremely important concept in the beginning of American independence. The natural right to rebellion states that, if a government abuses its power, it becomes a tyranny and the citizens have a right to overthrow it. According to the textbook, “John Locke, for example, articulated a philosophy of reason in proposing that the state existed to provide for the happiness and security of individuals, who were endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property” (Out of Many 151). Thus, both the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening were similar in that they pushed the colonies towards the idea of democracy and freedom, with the Enlightenment encouraging new ways of thinking about the role of

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