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In what ways did the ideas of the Enlightenment contribute to the Atlantic revolutions?

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gvirtue | Honors

Posted July 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM via web

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In what ways did the ideas of the Enlightenment contribute to the Atlantic revolutions?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM (Answer #1)

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The ideas of the Enlightenment contributed to the Atlantic revolutions in at least two important ways.

First, these ideas gave the revolutionaries a logic for challenging the regimes that ruled them.  They were not simply trying to overthrow one king for another.  Instead, they were questioning an entire system based on the idea that the system was not based on reason and natural law.

Second, these ideas gave the revolutionaries an alternative system to strive for.  The rebels did not simply have to be against the current system.  Instead, they had ideas of things like government by the consent of the governed and separation of powers.  These ideas had come to them through such Enlightenment thinkers as Locke and Montesquieu.

In these ways, Enlightenment ideas contributed greatly to the Atlantic revolutions.

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