Effects Of Enlightenment In American Literature

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Following the historical period of Puritan American literature, a new literary movement during the mid 18th century to the early 19th century from Europe introduced a new school of thinking in literature. The Age of Enlightenment sprouted new ideas concerning philosophical ideas of liberty and freedom. Enlightenment literature also explored the concepts of democracy and reasoning. The central ideas of Enlightenment literature surrounded itself, in a sense, as a rejection of religion, specifically church dogma, in favor of new ideas that focused on reasoning. The rise of these ideas resulted from the advances of empirical science, skepticism toward old traditions and authority, and the focus on reasoning and intelligence. Enlightenment writing …show more content…
Calvinism perspectives of religion were still prevalent, but the rise of Deism emphasized God as a powerful clockmaker who left the world after its creation. Many new ideas were introduced such as how leadership should be gained by meritocracy instead of birthrights. Other ideas from Enlightenment thinkers emphasized scientific explanations and observations of the world, and highlighted the importance of human 's rights. Another consequences of these political and radical shifts in thinking during this time brought about new ideas that galvanized revolutions such as the American Revolution. The entire shift from a society influenced greatly by God and puritan values to a society influenced by Enlightenment concepts helped to influence prominent writers. These writers influenced by Enlightenment ideas included Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine who contributed their own voices concerning Enlightenment philosophy and thinking in their respective writings of “The Way to Wealth” and “The Crisis, …show more content…
In the pamphlet, Paine uses moral reference to God, and refers to God as a way to inspire and convince plainly to the colonists the importance of American Revolutionary war against the king and Great Britain. Paine used rational examples to oppose traditional government, specifically the authority of the British government, and tried to convince the colonists the king’s tyrannical actions. He speaks openly about having “little superstition” yet uses God as a reference to connect to the people, and emphasizes how “God Almighty” would not leave the Colonists unsupported from the British “military destruction” (W. W Norton & Company Inc. 648). By contrasting the King as a “murder”, Paine reminds the Colonists the tyrannical, unrighteous actions the King has imposed on the people such as the unfair right to “bind us [America] in all cases whatsoever” as an act similar to that of “slavery” (W. W Norton & Company Inc. 648). Moreover, Paine use of God and religion is more of way to influence the Colonists opinions than act as a sermon to purpose God as shaming or demeaning the cause of the Revolution. Especially near the end, Paine summarizes, “I thank God that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it.” (W. W Norton & Company Inc.

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