American Enlightenment Essay

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Discuss the impact of political ideas of the European Enlightenment on the formation of the United States of America. The European Enlightenment is a period during the 17th and 18th that educated Europeans changed their perspective of life that realizing reason is the key to human progress. The formation of the United States of America are influenced directly by the political ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers. I will discuss the impact below. John Locke’s writing, Second Treatise of Government written in 1680s, affected the formation of the United States of America to a large degree. . Locke pointed out a conception of having natural rights for all of mankind, such as the right to life, liberty, and property and the pursuit of happiness.…show more content…
In view of the concept of consent of the governed, it is undeniable that the people are an active part of a state. Locke believed that government has a moral obligation to serve people as well as the main duty of the government is to maintain and protect the natural rights of the people. It is the rights of the people to overthrow the government, and form a new one, as long as the rights is broken by the government. The concept of justified dissolution of government can also be seen in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government.” This quote is exactly applied to Locke's thinking that a government is to serve and protect the rights of its citizens. Jean-Jacques Rousseau also believed that all men were free and should be, thus any government must act according to the will of the people. The Declaration of Independence includes this too, "A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." This quote reflects Rousseau's ideas exactly. Then, it can be noted that the formation of U.S.A based on the consent of the governed and the people have rights to
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