America 's Move Toward Independence

1776 Words Jan 11th, 2016 8 Pages
When one considers the part Enlightenment ideas played in America’s move toward independence, it is firstly mandatory to address two key concepts; what we mean by the term enlightenment and what these ideas mean in relation to American Independence. Broadly speaking, the Enlightenment is commonly perceived to be a philosophical movement of the 18th Century that introduced new ways of thinking and encouraged a broader understanding of the world. However, the enlightenment realistically isn 't this simple; it wasn’t a process, nor was it simplistic and universal. It was a series of movements in public life, religion, politics and science that occurred at the hands of the minority of innovative thinkers. Roy Porter perhaps best encapsulates the complexity of such a concept, ‘We should drop the definite article and maybe also the capital letter, and speak not of ‘The Enlightenment’ but rather of ‘enlightenment’, or better still ‘enlightenments’.’ What aspects of the philosophical thinkers ideals therefore, does one relate to the American War of Independence? I will argue that there is no disputing just how significant Enlightenment ideas were in their influence over political and religious attitudes in the American War of Independence. This occurs in the uptake of arms, newly establish institutions and a vehemently sought after new order outlined in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and later, the Constitution of the United States. However, it…
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