By the late eighteenth century, the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason as it was called had begun to rapidly spread across Europe. People began believing in the ideals of popular government, the centrality of economics to politics, secularism, and progress. This cultural movement was sparked by intellectuals and commonwealth thinkers such as the influential writer John Locke and the famous scientist Isaac Newton, both who emphasized the fact that man, by the use of reason, would be able to solve all of his problems-whether it be problems with the government, morals or the society. However, these ideals weren’t just limited to the European nations where they had first begun. On the other side of the world, off in the United States, American intellectuals began to reason with these ideas as well. As a result, the influence on the profound of modern economic and political thought had a huge impact on the United States, resulting in one of the most important documents in known in American history; the Constitution. John Locke, one of the leading philosophers of the European Enlightenment was very important when it came to political thought in the United States. His ideas of the reasons, nature, and limits of the government became especially important in the development of the Constitution. In one of his most famous writings of that time, Two Treatises on Government (1689), Locke established a theory where personal liberty could coexist with political power ; meaning that the people would agree to obey the government and in return, the government would have the responsibility of respecting the people’s natural rights. In other words, he laid out a social contract theory that provided the philosophy and source of a governing author... ... middle of paper ... ...e centrality of economics to politics, secularism, and progress played a very important part in the formation of the United States Constitution. With such commonwealth thinkers such as Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau, the Fathers of the Constitution were able to establish the supreme law of the land. Using the ideals of these enlightenment thinkers, they were able to describe the organization of the government and its relationship with the states and its citizens. The Enlightenment period, and more importantly the philosophies of the thinkers of this time, pretty much changed the entire world viewed everything in the 17th and 18th centuries. For our purposes, it was most important because it set the tone for what citizens go by today; there is still a separation of power, natural rights, and the citizens can live peacefully knowing that there is no supreme ruler.
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There are many different ways in which the Enlightenment affected the Declaration of Independence and the U.S Constitution. One way was the by the idea of a Social Contract; an agreement by which human beings are said to have abandoned the "state of nature" in order to form the society in which they now live. HOBBES, LOCKE, and J.J. ROUSSEAU each developed differing versions of the social contract, but all agreed that certain freedoms had been surrendered for society's protection and that the government has definite responsibilities to its citizens. Locke believed that governments were formed to protect the natural rights of men, and that overthrowing a government that did not protect these rights was not only a right, but also an obligation. His thoughts influenced many revolutionary pamphlets and documents, including the Virginia Constitution of 1776, and the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights was created as a listing of the rights granted to citizens, the Bill of Rights serves to protect the people from a too powerful government. These civil rights granted to U.S. Citizens are included in the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, Locke’s ideas about checks and balances and the division of church and state were later embodied in the U.S. Constitution as well. The Constitution replaced a more weakly organized system of government as outlined under the Articles of Confederation.
...wo systems that our government has today with the three different branches of government, each of which has some power over the others to create balance. John Locke influenced the American Revolution, and many other American governmental leaders who were crucial in outlining our country’s government. He gave Thomas Paine the inspiration to bring a nation to its feet, and he also influenced James Madison who drew up the principles of liberty and government (John Locke). John Locke’s Natural Rights are the basis for our Declaration’s “unalienable rights”. John Locke’s emphasis on constitutionalism and human understanding influenced our government with the ideas of limited government, balance of power, and a representative ruling body. With his written views he has shaped our country’s executive and legislative governmental power to this day (John Locke).
The authors of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the United States Constitution pulled from many different sources during the infancy of these invaluable documents. They used pieces such as Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, Rousseau’s Of The Social Contract, and Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws as inspiration for America’s fundamental government. Each of these influential political philosophers were instrumental in making our government what it is today. Hobbes brought the ideas of natural equality, a strong, powerful government, and the principle that governments must be able to protect the people to American political philosophy. Locke added that
The Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason) is described by scholars a method of thinking and knowing (“epistemology”) based off of the ideas that the natural world is in fact better understood through close observation, as well as dependence on reason. An important note to point out is that the Enlightenment added a more secular environment to colonial life, which had always been based on religion. The ideas of the Enlightenment actually originated in eighteenth century Europe, allowing for the birth of colonial “deists” who often looked for God’s plan in nature more than the Bible as they had in the past. Many of the deists began to look at science and reason to divulge God’s laws and purpose. This period of Enlightenment encouraged people to study the world around them, think for themselves instead of what others had to say, as well as ask whether the chaotic appearances of things were masking a sense of order. The...
John Locke wrote the Two Treatises of Government. In his work Locke talked about how governments are not created by God, but by human beings. He claimed that by nature all people are free and equal against the claims of God and that a government should work between the governor and the ones being governed, instead of a governor and God. Locke also wrote several religious essays that served as an early model for the separation of the church and the state. His phrase of “life, liberty, and property,” would end up influencing the United States’ early documents. Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding expressed the idea that knowledge neglects inmate ideas and in order to discover the truth beyond simple experience, he suggested methods of experimental science. Thoughts Concerning Education expressed Locke’s idea on how the mind can be educated by having a healthy body, a pure character, and the right academic curriculum. Later on, it would be acknowledged by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Without the Enlightenment principles used as the basis of this country, it would be much different that it is today. These important values are still active today through freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and many other natural rights. Jefferson, Madison, Locke, Newton, and other Enlightenment philosophers put their ideas forward that went on to be key contributors in the most important documents in America such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
The Enlightenment period can be accredited to having an impact on the radicalism of the American Revolution. “During the eighteenth century, many educated Americans began to be influenced by the outlook of the European Enlightenment.” Enlightenment thinkers were particularly fond of rationalism and reasoning as a government of human life. John Locke, a philosopher and author of this period, brought up in Two Treatises on Government the idea that the government and the governed should have a mutual agreement. This agreement, known as Locke’s “social contract” held that men should surrender themselves to be governed, and in turn, the government would recognize the natural rights of men. Life, liberty, an...
Ideas from English history and the Enlightenment influenced the foundation of American democracy. Documents and events were two principles of English history that created lasting effects with its political ideas and changes in law. Enlightenment thinkers, such as John Locke, Baron De Montesquieu, and Jean Jacques Rousseau, developed key ideas about natural rights, balanced government, and the social contract. Both concepts impacted the foundation of the American democracy, as it was strongly portrayed in the document, the Declaration of Independence.
Enlightenment had an enormous impact on educated, well to do people in Europe and America. It supplied them with a common vocabulary and a unified view of the world, one that insisted that the enlightened 18th century was better, and wiser, than all previous ages. It joined them in a common endeavor, the effort to make sense of God's orderly creation. Thus
What John Locke was concerned about was the lack of limitations on the sovereign authority. During Locke’s time the world was surrounded by the monarch’s constitutional violations of liberty toward the end of the seventeenth century. He believed that people in their natural state enjoy certain natural, inalienable rights, particularly those to life, liberty and property. Locke described a kind of social contract whereby any number of people, who are able to abide by the majority rule, unanimously unite to affect their common purposes. The...
The American Revolution marked the divorce of the British Empire and its one of the most valued colonies. Behind the independence that America had fought so hard for, there emerged a diverging society that was eager to embrace new doctrines. The ideals in the revolution that motivated the people to fight for freedom continued to influence American society well beyond the colonial period. For example, the ideas borrowed from John Locke about the natural rights of man was extended in an unsuccessful effort to include women and slaves. The creation of state governments and the search for a national government were the first steps that Americans took to experiment with their own system. Expansion, postwar depression as well as the new distribution of land were all evidence that pointed to the gradual maturing of the economic system. Although America was fast on its way to becoming a strong and powerful nation, the underlying issues brought about by the Revolution remained an important part in the social, political and economical developments that in some instances contradicted revolutionary principles in the period from 1775-1800.
John Locke was a British philosopher who believed in a state of nature and his ideas of a government influenced the Founding Fathers in creating the Declaration of Independence. Locke believed that the purpose of government was to protect the natural rights of citizens. Those rights are the right of life, liberty and property. If the government fails to protect individual rights people are obligated to replace it. The colonists started to believe that the British were violating their right to property and decided to rebel against Britain. Without Locke’s ideas, the Founding Fathers wouldn’t have had another reason to write the Declaration of Independence.
As well as, John Locke, whom I believe has had a great influence on American government. Many of America’s political leaders have read Locke. For example, one of which was Thomas Jefferson. This can be easily seen in Jefferson’s writings especially in the Declaration of Independence. “But since his early days, he’d thought and read about government and the rights of mankind. He read British writer John Locke, who believed that people are born with natural rights (Wilson).” Of course, the Declaration of Independence played a significant role in constructing what the United States is today. In addition, many of the other founding fathers read the Two Treaties on Civil Government. As a matter of fact, Locke’s writings are considered to be religious. The U.S. constitution also reflects many of Locke’s religious and political views. Locke’s views were very appealing in the developing American
Have you ever heard of the Enlightenment era in history? It was a significant period in time where people started to have new ideas in technology, science, politics, and philosophy. The Enlightenment also brought about a lot of memorable thinkers who still continue to influence us today. Among those thinkers included the very wise John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. John Locke was an excellent Enlightenment philosopher who actually influenced Thomas Jefferson’s writings for the Declaration of Independence. Their writings helped to create the unity in America, and justify the break from Great Britain. As a result, together these two famous philosophers helped our country become independent with the Declaration
The Enlightenment brought about fundamental changes of thought in society.1 Philosophes such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau sought changes in society for the good of humanity. In addition to basic changes in society, the enlightenment brought about changes in thought in the areas of religion and science, the government, and the view of women.