The Enlightenment in America

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How and why did the ideas of the Enlightenment influence Americans in their debates and decisions from 1763 to 1783 in the United States?

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In America, the years 1763 to 1783 encompassed the growing tension between the colonists and England, the Declaration of Independence, and the Revolutionary War.

Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement which contended that individuals are rational beings, capable of using their senses and faculties to arrive at universal truths. These abilities were self-evident and granted from a higher power, not granted through government. This theory drastically reshaped the way Americans thought about the role of government and projected a specific disdain for governments whose power was intertwined with religion.

Americans believed, as Enlightened beings, that self-government was the best way to preserve these ideals, which they codified as rights. Absolute monarchies were a threat to the preservation of these rights. In instances like the Boston Tea Party in 1773, the disdain Americans had for what they viewed as unfair and unnecessary laws manifested. This tension also came...

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