Regional Differences in the U.S
The American nation was shaped by a collection of many factors including the Enlightenment period that contributed significantly towards molding the political and economic attitudes. Unique individuals such as Isaac Newton and Thomas Jefferson came up with new techniques and approaches toward handling political, economic and social activities and issues. It is from the change in attitudes among the Americans that the rise of a great nation began. Some of these ideas and principles include freedom, liberty, democracy, justice, independence and scientific innovation. These ideas were embraced by the pioneer citizens and entrenched in the constitution that helped build the American nation into a formidable force. These antique ideas have remained relevant to the present day where they still contribute tremendously towards shaping the political, religious, economic and social environments.
Regional Differences in the U.S
The Age of Enlightenment refers to a period of intellectual explosion in America and Europe that started in the late 17th century. This period was sparked by several scholars such as John Locke, Isaac Newton and Spinoza. Closely related to the Age of Enlightenment was the Scientific Revolution that provided much of the foundation that allowed the period to be successful. In America, the Age of Enlightenment was marked by radical changes in democracy, religious tolerance and liberty. The analysis of the notion of enlightenment will involve the assessment of the effect of Enlightenment ideas in America, whether these ideas are still pertinent in modern North America and the reason behind their current level of applicability.
The change in political attitudes was the main effect of the Enlightenment Era in North America. Within North America, Enlightened notions of development and freedom had an opportunity to thrive without the restraints of older ways of thinking. John Locke’s ideas of freedom and increased democracy successfully expelled the monarchical system that had been in existence for hundreds of years. In its place, the will of the people took center stage as new instruments of democracy such as the constitution and elections were implemented to control the choice of political leaders (Blom et al., 2007). Contribution by French philosopher, Montesquieu concerning separation of powers were adopted by the North American political revolutionists and used to create the Congress, the executive and the judiciary (Rahe, 2009; Schiffer & Hollenback, 2003). Most of the other Enlightenment ideas were captured in the United States Constitution including the Bill of Rights and other liberties (McInelly & Stasio, 2010). Science and rationality were also unique attitudes that were adopted in the running of the government for instance in the development of administrative theories (Sher, 2006).
Benjamin Franklin was one of the influential individuals that contributed immensely towards the attitude change among Americans during the Enlightenment Age. Being a multi-skilled person, Franklin was exceedingly knowledgeable in political theory, music, science and diplomacy. His contribution towards science in the Enlightenment Age resulted in the development of studies in electricity. Benjamin Franklin was also a strong supporter of colonial unity, a movement that strengthened the American nation (Israel, 2011). Another influential individual during the Enlightenment Era was Thomas Jefferson who contributed mightily to religious tolerance. His publication, The Jefferson Bible, contained several biblical references that lacked the supernatural deeds characteristic of Christianity such as the Resurrection (Kaplan, 2007; Goetzmann, 2009). Lastly, Thomas Paine who was a writer and political activist also influenced the American populace through political propaganda and patriotic awareness (Scrivener, 2007; Curran, 2011).
The Enlightenment ideas and principles that were developed during the 17th and 18th century are still highly relevant in the current American context. Influential individuals during the Enlightenment Era such as Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and Thomas Paine held deep beliefs concerning the future of American politics and society (Jonathan, 2009; Shuffelton, 2009). These ideas were preserved within the United States constitution. Locke’s ideas of republicanism have been in place for many centuries after they were incepted in the late 1780s (Reese, 2009). The ideas by Jefferson concerning religious freedom are still applicable in modern America after they were signed into law in 1768 (Casey, 2008; Morigiwa et al., 2011).
The main reason for the continued relevance of these ideas and their development by philosophers in the Enlightenment period is that they were deeply entrenched into the legislation and embraced as part of the American nation (Israel, 2001; Albertone & De Francesco, 2009). Because these few individuals spent considerable resources to develop concepts that would unify and strengthen the American nation, most of their ideas were adopted in almost all areas of politics, the society and religion. Therefore, it was virtually impossible to do away with the very pillars of the American nation (Pagden, 2013).
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