Enlightenment thinkers influenced the history of European countries and, consequently, affected the United States’ politics. The eighteenth century’s main political thought was based on changing the perception of authority and clarifying the importance of fundamental human rights. Democratic traditions have taken place in American culture since the beginning, influenced by the colonists’ unwillingness to serve the British crown (Ushistory.org, 2021a). The rise of the Enlightenment thinking that came to the United States with English philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, and John Locke strongly affected the Constitution’s shape.
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Tensions between Great Britain and America strengthened throughout the century before the United States government had been established. An independent nation’s ideas turned into the demanded measures after the Seven Years’ War and Revolution (Ushistory.org, 2021a). The urgency to improve internal governance conceded with the increase of the Enlightenment era’s thoughtful discussion, and the American founders bravely considered the ideas while establishing the new country.
The United States Declaration of Independence praises the Enlightenment era’s ideas of basic equal human rights, and the government’s protective function’s priority above the regulative one. The document (2021b) states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (para. 2). Moreover, the Enlightenment philosophy influenced the governmental structure described in the Declaration by pointing out the protection function of legislation, regulation, and military forces.
The ideas of democracy that primarily appeared due to the development of governmental philosophy and the political thought of the Enlightenment era are still actual for modern American society. The idea of equal fundamental human rights remained the most important in the United States Constitution, and the movements that promote diversity rely on it. The eighteenth Enlightenment’s standards such as tolerance, optimism, and freedom of choice are crucial to building a happy and thriving society in modern times.
Ushistory.org. (2021a). Foundations of American government. Web.
Ushistory.org. (2021b). The Declaration of Independence. Web.