Is it possible that the Enlightenment and Great Awakening led to the revolution?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If the movement suggested is the American Revolution, I think a clear case can be made that the Enlightenment and Great Awakening played a significant role through their inspiration value to the Colonists.  The Enlightenment's role is undeniable in this data set.  The political and philosophical ideas put forth in the works of Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Locke had a profound impact on the political formations of the Colonists.  Stressing the rationality and reasonable nature of human beings, the inherent notion of freedom within them, and the idea that government is a participatory institution where individuals do not need to be "controlled" but rather whose talents can be harnessed into great things for all left a meaningful and relevant imprint on the Colonists.  These ideas led the Colonists to repudiate the violations of economic and political rights that were being perpetrated by England.  At the same time, the individuality and distinctive feel of the Great Awakening could also have played a role as inspiring the Colonists.  The idea that Colonists could "reinvent" their own notion of religious concepts from England proved that they were capable of self government and self determination.  The only reason why the Great Awakening took place was because of the perceived lack of spirituality on the part of the Colonists.  It was a "home grown" movement, inspired and initiated by orthodox Colonists against colonists who were not heeding the supposed word of God.  This idea that the colonists were able to police themselves, critique their own, and develop competing notions of the spiritual good helped to foster the concept that England was not needed to guide the Colonists.  They were capable of doing that in both spiritual and political realms on their own.