The American Revolution

Describe the events that led to the American Revolution and the influence of Enlightenment ideas on American government.

By the 1700s, new ideas of identity were growing in the colonists minds. Britain's victory at the French and Indian war increased the tension between Britain and the colonists, since the British expected the colonists to pay off their debts from the war. Also, the pass of the Stamp Act angered the colonists since they didn't not believe in this taxation without them having any representation in the parliament. Over the years, the bitterness between the colonies and Britain increased, which led to conflicts such as the Boston Tea Party. At one point, representatives from 12 of the colonies decided to gather and protest against the treatment they were given. Since the king decided to ignore their complaints they made their next move by attacking the village of Lexington, in Massachusetts.

Colonial leaders based their Independence ideas on similar ideas of the Enlightenment. For example, they believed that their people should have the same rights as those in Britain, and since their king refused to do so, they appealed that he had broken the social contract. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. Soon after, the colonists and britain broke into war, the Colonists resulting victorious and making the United States of America. Enlightenment ideas influences in most part the US constitution, since many ideas from philoshophers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke and Montesquieu were borrowed and adapted to the new life in America. Later on, the Bill of Rights was issued which also contained many ideas of the Enlightenment period, such as the equality of people and freedom of all kind: religious, press and speech.

American Revolution
By: Michelle Pelletier Patrone

The increase in population and prosperity brought a new sense of identity into the colonies minds. Each 13 colonies had its own government, and people were used to great sense of independence. Then, in 1651, the British parliament passed a trade law called the Navigation act, which brought restrictions. British trade restrictions and colonial merchants became successful, but this spirit of relative harmony changed. Then in 1754, French colonized colonies in America, and led a war called the French and Indian war, in North America. The victory led tensions between colonies and British. American colonies benefited from British, so they expected Americans to pay the war, so they created the Stamp act, but Americans didn’t like it. Tensions kept growing. Then Colonial leaders started to use the Enlightenment ideas to create independence. In these, they end up signing the Declaration of Independence, a document written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 explaining why the 13 colonies needed to be free from British rule. Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire, and Beccaria‘s ideas influence the American government by making it democratic. Their ideas influenced, also, by limiting government’s power, Federal system, and created check and balances, and Bill of Rights.

The American Revolution was started in the 1760´s because the parliament was trying to legislate the colonies directly in order to tax them. Meanwhile they didn’t have any representation on the parliament so they could have any word to set those taxes higher. Without the power of controlling these taxes all of their liberties were in danger. After one year of protest Britain didn’t take any measure to protect the right of the colonist, so the American finally saw independence as a way to ensure their self government and liberty.

The impulsive movement that helped American to reclaim independence was because of the enlightenment because it determined every aspect of the colonial in America, most of them were in terms of religion, politics and government. Without a figure of the enlightenment and its central ideas, America would have been different since these concepts shaped the country formatively.

The British Parliament passed a trade law called the Navigation Act preventing colonists from selling their most valuable goods to any other country, in 1651. After the French and Indian War, Britain had a huge debt they expected colonists to help pay. The Stamp Act (1765) said that colonists had to pay a tax for an official stamp to put on wills, deeds, newspapers, and etc. American colonists had no representation in the British Parliament. In 1773, the Boston Tea Party happened, in which a group of colonists dumped a load of British tea into the Boston Harbor to protest an import of tea. In September 1774, the colonists gathered in the First Continental Congress to discuss the situations. During the Second Continental Congress colonists issued the Declaration of independence.

The Declaration of Independence was based on John Locke and Enlightenment ideas. Ideas such as a government’s power comes from peoples consent, the separation of powers, direct democracy, freedom of speech, and religious toleration, and no torture are some important ideas of the Constitution. Montesquieu idea of the government gave the colonists the idea for the checks and balances that keep their government stable. Voltaire, Rousseau and Locke are important influences of the Bill of Rights of the United States.

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