How Did The Enlightenment Influence The Formation Of America

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The United States of America was born in and of the Enlightenment. The American Revolution, our national documents, and our system of government were products of Enlightenment philosophy. No other nation`s history can be identified in the same way as much with the Enlightenment as ours.
The Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, was a revolution in thinking that began in Europe in the 17th century. After centuries of political and religious oppression, philosophers were beginning to advance theories emphasizing humanistic values and the use of reason in scientific, political, and religious areas. “(The)…Enlightenment was an unsparing sunrise, revealing the wickedness of ancient ideas and institutions, illuminating also the fundamental goodness of man.”
Samuel Johnson was a Connecticut born clergyman and educator who founded and became the first president of King`s College (today`s Columbia University). In
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Among them was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a Genevan writer and philosopher whose Discourse on Equality and The Social Contract were influential on how our Founding Fathers envisioned the new nation they were creating. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton also studied the Swiss model of a republican government to help them gain understanding on how to fashion ours. Another was Voltaire, a French writer and philosopher who advocated freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state. This last concept was very important to Thomas Jefferson, and for this reason he “…drafted his most sweeping law reform, the one central to his vision of a just society and closest to his heart. His Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom declared that government has no right to dictate what anyone could believe in matters of religion.” (Bernstein p. 42) His Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was the precursor for the first amendment to the

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