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POLS 21 Professor Nelson
The enlightenment was crucial in the shaping of the United States. The enlightenment is responsible for shaping the United States in its formative years. Famous articles of history such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were directly affected from the ideas of the Enlightenment. Concepts such as freedom from oppression, natural rights, and new ways of thinking about governmental structure came straight from Enlightenment philosophers such as Locke and forged the foundations for both colonial and modern America. The enlightenment helped determine every aspect of colonial America, most notably in terms of politics, government and religion. The American Revolution and many events that followed were influenced by the Enlightenment. The Revolution came about after a series of unfair taxes upon the colonists by the British government who needed extra income to help them recover from their wars abroad. Using the Enlightenment principles of freedom and reason, the colonists declared the taxes unfair and stood up against oppression. These early Americans wished to have their own government that was based on Enlightenment principles and then the Revolution occurred. Locke’s conception of natural rights for all of mankind was being violated by British oppression and it became necessary to draft a government and code that would guarantee everyone natural rights would be protected. One of the first steps in the formation of the United States that was based upon Enlightenment was the creation of the Declaration of Independence. This document promised personal freedom to all citizens and this was guaranteed by means of a new form of government, one that was based on the people’s right to have a say in their government. As the country moved toward the drafting of the Constitution, the ideas of several Enlightenment philosophers shaped the direction American political leaders took. For...
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