Effect of Enlightenment of American Revolution

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The Enlightenment was the root of many of the ideas of the American Revolution. The Enlightenment was an intellectual revolution in the 18th century that focused on rationality, natural law, liberty, and progress. The leaders of the revolution were inspired by the writings of Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire and Montesquieu. The values of liberty and equality were fought for as colonists strove to end British control over them. The American Revolution was greatly influenced by the Enlightenment. Voltaire, was a French author during the Enlightenment. He opposed both the Catholic Church and absolute government and fought for freedom of speech and religious tolerance in his writings. France’s absolutist government and unjust laws did not allow men to move up in station through hard work or individual merit. Instead, people were divided by their birth and ancestry. The colonies were different from many European countries in this way. In contrast with contemporary Europe, eighteenth century America was a land of equality and opportunity with the exception of slavery. If a colonist was ambitious and business-savy, then he could climb the social ladder, a rare step in England. The colonists idealized Voltaire for his views equality, freedom of speech and religion because of the sharp, witty prose of Voltaire and his sensible opinions and reasoning. His ideas were among the many used in the creation of the Declaration of independence and the Constitution. Voltaire believed that, through reason, men could improve their societies and had an obligation to do so. The French philosopher Montesquieu wrote The Spirit of the Laws, a work comparing different types of governments. In this work, Montesquieu covered the importance of separation of power in balancing and limiting the control any one person or group could have over the government. His idea of separated

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