Enlightenment Definition Essay

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Since the beginning of American history there has always been a reoccurring theme, individualism. This was a key principle in the influence of Enlightenment ideals that formed the United States and continues to shape us today. This movement embodied rebellious ideals that worked to deconstruct old traditions and pave the way for a new rational and logical way of life. This time period sparked work in the field of science, and moved away from traditional Puritan beliefs, in order to focus on natural and provable ideas. Throughout the Enlightenment we saw new significance being placed on liberty, natural rights, freedom, democracy and republicanism, and religious tolerance. This attempt to reconcile science, natural rights, and religion resulted…show more content…
Liberty is defined as “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views” (Oxford Dictionary). What sparked this emphasis being placed of liberty and natural rights was the British government beginning to establish unfair taxes in the colonies (Jefferson, 59). This was an attempt to generate a fluctuation in money to compensate from British money lost in wars abroad. We see the concept of “inalienable rights” emerge from this (Jefferson, 58). This is what was used in the Declaration of Independence to justify the colonies separation from Britain. Drawing from John Locke’s interpretation of natural rights, the Declaration addresses the charges against King George III, and how the colonies were being violated and oppressed by British rule (Jefferson, 59). This was the reason that the colonies felt that it was necessary to create a new government that could guarantee that everyone’s natural rights were protected. We can see that the ideas of liberty and natural rights that were established in the founding of this country such as, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and equality under the law are still a part of our legal system today (Bill of

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