Enlightenment Revolution

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The emergence of revolutions throughout the transatlantic area are the products of Enlightenment ideals. The center of Enlightenment thought was Europe. The spread of the Enlightenment can be contributed by public intellectuals known as the philosophes. The philosophes held large meetings where they discussed, debated, and lectured on the ideals of the Enlightenment. Through these meetings, the ideals of freedom, equality, and sovereignty gained popularity throughout the region. In the Enlightenment age, three major ideologies prevailed: government by consent by John Locke, separation of sowers by Montesquieu, and liberty, fraternity, and equality by Rousseau. Many advocates of Enlightenment ideas embraced these ideals and began to question…show more content…
The ideas of Enlightenment made its way to the new colonies as they were formed. Based on the early history of the colonies, they readily adopted the ideals of the Enlightenment. The colonies were founded by joint-stock companies, which meant individuals put up the money to finance expeditions to America and retained a lot of control over the colonies’ affairs. “Although English colonies were always subject to royal authority, for example, they also maintained their own assemblies and influenced the choice of royal governors” (543). The colonies started out with more rights than the standard imperial colony of the time period. In the beginning, colonists had a lot of say in their government, and Great Britain acted like a regulatory power. Over the years, the North American colonists became accustomed to a degree of autonomy with Great Britain due to the geographic distance separating England and the colonies. Great Britain tried to reinvigorate imperial control over the colonies after accumulating financial difficulties from the Seven Years’ War. Parliament began to exert more imperial control by passing legislation to increase taxation. The new laws taxed molasses, publications, tea, and on a wide variety of imported items. Parliament also passed the Quartering Act of 1765, which required colonists to provide housing and accommodations to British troops (640). Growing tensions caused…show more content…
The French witnessed the success of their American counterparts and decided to create a similar republic. For years, France had been the center of Enlightenment thought, but the Americans were the first to put the ideas into action. The French Revolution began under different circumstances than the American Revolution. At this time the government was an absolute monarchy ruled entirely by King Louis XIV on the basis of divine right. The king was known for spending huge amounts of money on lavish clothes and castles, which contributed substantially to the national debt. French society was categorized into three estates. The first estate consisted of the clergy and accounted for less than 1% of the total population. The second estate was the nobility and made up 2% of the population of France. Lastly, the third estate contained the remaining 97% of the population that consisted of skill workers, peasants and laborers (643). The third estate was very disgruntled that they only had one vote in the Estates General but represented the majority of the country. The French Revolution seeds of rebellion sprouted in 1789 when the Estates General met with King Louis XIV. The disagreement over shared power, wealth, and the success of the Americans against the British encouraged the French to embrace the political thought of Montesquieu’s theory of separation of powers. After weeks of unproductive debate,

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