July 29, 2010
Causes of the American Revolution
The new revolutionary thought that spread across Europe during the eighteenth-century, named the Enlightenment, had a critical impact on the thoughts of colonial leaders and the colonists themselves during the preluding years of the American Revolution. The ideas expounded upon at the time aided the people in beginning to question and think for themselves, which would eventually be the core values that would go hand in hand with a majority of colonial thought and Americans to this day (give or take). They were the intellectual sparks that ignited action against imperial Britain. Enlightenment ideas helped open people’s minds to a new way of thinking and not to accept the ways of the past. The ideas challenged old ways of thinking, questioned divine-right of rule, and taught that people should be able to gain measureable well-being, social justice, and happiness in this life, not just the next. The American Revolution was a culmination of many of the ideas of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was fundamental in determining almost every aspect of colonial America, especially in terms of politics, government, and religion. It could be safe to say that without those ideas at the time the American colonies would still have felt it their duty to do whatever Britain said, even though they did not like it. Without the ideas and figures of the Enlightenment, one could argue that the American Revolution would have happened much later, if at all, since these concepts gave the the country (in its formative years) the bravado to confront a much larger power. Concepts such as freedom from oppression, natural rights, and new ways of thinking about government arrangement came straight from Enlightenment philosophers and laid the foundations for a call to independence. Using the Enlightenment principles of freedom and reason, the colonists declared...