1. How far did the ideas of enlightenment inspire the American Revolution? Illustrate.
प्रबोधन के विचारों ने अमेरिकी क्रांति को कितना प्रेरित किया? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।
The American Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the 17th to 18th century, which led to the American Revolution, and the creation of the United States of America.
The Renaissance had inaugurated an era of questioning the established beliefs. Gradually, this questioning covered every aspect of thought and belief. The period after the 16th century, witnessed an intellectual revolution when all the existing beliefs based on faith came under heavy attack.
- Around 1750, many Thinkers were challenging the status-quo and demanding freedom & liberty for the people. They placed before the people idea of a democratic form of governance. They helped in development of ideas of Republicanism and Liberalism that militated against colonialism
- Great progress was made in various sciences, which also undermined the existing beliefs. The new ideas were characterized by rationalism and were increasingly concerned with secular affairs. Because of the growing emphasis on reason, the period of the 18th century in European history is called the Age of reason or the Age of Enlightenment.
- Some of the leaders of the American Revolution were influenced by Enlightenment ideas which are, freedom of speech, equality, freedom of press, and religious tolerance. American colonists did not have these rights, in result, they rebelled against England for independence. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote about American’s natural rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These ideas came from the Enlightenment, the ideals led towards the American Revolution soon after.
- John Locke was one of the most important and influential philosophers in the history of the world. He devoted a lot of his time into writing about philosophy and political thought. The founding fathers of the American Revolution drew heavily on his ideals. John Locke argued “The power of any king or government is derived from people who contract to obey their rules in exchange for law and security. Individuals have a natural right to hold property and this can never be taken from them without their own consent. If a ruler infringes the terms of the contract that empowers him or seizes property without consent, the people can resist and depose him” (John Locke).
- These arguments are things that American Colonists wanted to have but couldn’t under the control of England. Therefore, American Colonists wanted independence from England.
- Thomas Hobbes is known for his political thought. His main concern in the world is how individuals can live together with peace and not think of conflict (Williams).He rejects free will of determinism, in which freedom is treated as having the ability to do what an individual desires (Oregon State). The American Colonists ended up turning to Hobbes work to justify the passage of the U.S constitution.
Although distinctive features arose in the eighteenth-century American context, much of the American Enlightenment was continuous with parallel experiences in British and French society. Four themes recur in both European and American Enlightenment texts: modernization, skepticism, reason and liberty. American Revolution was a revolution in ideas and system of Polity and it impacted the future events, the most prominent of them being the French Revolution of 1789.