Compare And Contrast The American Revolution And The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment period in Europe was a shift in the way that society thought about power and liberty. The ideals of this period helped to inspire the revolutions of the 18th century. The American colonies desired liberty from foreign rule, the French wanted to increase the power of the people in their class structure, and the Haitians fought for representation for the millions of slaves on their island. While the ideas of the enlightenment were not fully employed in each of these revolutions, they brought the nations closer to a fully representative government, rather than one of absolute power. The American revolution was a reaction to unfavorable tax policies from the King of England. When the King of England began to infringe on the colonists’ liberties, leaders inspired by the enlightenment grouped together to defend the rights of the American colonies. As Thomas Jefferson writes in the Declaration of Independence, “History of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries ad usurpations,…show more content…
The citizens of France, inspired by the enlightenment, desired a government run by the people. Marquis de Lafayette wrote, “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights; social distinctions may be based only upon general usefulness” (de Lafayette 783). The French wanted to bring equality to all classes. The French revolution brought much more social change than the American revolution. Inspired by Lafayette’s declaration that, “no group, no individual may exercise authority not emanating expressly therefrom” (de Lafayette 783), the class system was destroyed. The revolutionaries were open to ending slavery, however women remained marginalized within the social structure of France. Similarly to the American revolution, the enlightenment ideas that drove the French revolution were not applied to society as a

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