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American enlightenment started in the 18 century. It reached the country through the port cities. At the beginning of the enlightenment period, only the elite had embraced the new ways of thinking. Famous philosophers spread enlightenment ideas throughout the country during that time. An example of the philosophers was Benjamin Franklin. He spread ideas using cheap materials such as pamphlets and newspapers. The enlightenment ideas started in Europe, but Europeans took a long time to implement the ideas because they had to discuss the implementation of the ideas. Americans adopted the ideas faster than Europe. They started to question the relevance of kings and churches in the era. This resulted into the introduction of the new theology which the educate elite in the society named the rational Christianity1.
The rational Christianity theology influenced people from different religions in the society to tolerate each other. This is because new theology made them to accept the idea that God gave human the ability to think rationally. This increased humans’ understanding that enabled them to live according to the moral teachings without considering their religious backgrounds. This made many Americans to embrace Deism that was a belief that is influenced by reason instead of religious teachings like in the past. This belief held that our Creator made the world and the natural laws that are meant to maintain it. It is the duty of humans to ensure that they maintain the world using the natural laws. In the past, people in the country believed that humans were guided by God’s supernatural powers. However, during the enlightenment period, people started to believe that humans are guided by their reasoning ability. The ability is a gift that God gave them, but not supernatural powers. Thomas Jefferson was among those who embraced the new philosophy. The beliefs led to the introduction of new laws aligned with the
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In the 21st century, a common belief is still that the USA was founded on the morals and principles of Christianity. This belief is highly doubtful, and it is possible to assume, that Christianity not only wasn’t a source of wonderful achievements in the field of morality, freedom of speech and human dignity, but was resistant to them, trying by all means to prevent their spread.
Now it holds the distinction of being one, if not the most powerful country in the world, in almost all aspects of nationhood – from the political, military, to the economic. This current position as a superpower has however been reached after many challenges and difficulties have been encountered by this country.
New ideas about economics, politics, science, religion and mathematics were the end result of this time period. Something as difficult to define as “enlightenment” is also difficult to place within the confines of a set period of time. There was no one historical event that launched the Age of Enlightenment, nor is there an easily identifiable event that brought the Age of Enlightenment to a close.
It is partly due to the very reality that Jefferson, as his writings depict, never aim to announce unconditional freedom to the black slaves, leading a life of misery and humiliation in the US soil, far from their indigenous motherland. Thomas Jefferson, according to Halliday (2002), pretends at the same time to be a loyal and committed representative of the state and the white Anglo Saxon population (WASP), and simultaneously claims to be the benefactor of the African community, serving their white masters as slaves (31).
The most crucial aspect of the Enlightenment was the belief in the secularization of society where the church was to be separated from the state. The Enlightenment was spearheaded by the philosophes, who were scholars whose work gave life to this age.
What was the idea, belief, or movement that had the greatest impact on Western civilization from the Enlightenment to the present day?
The human race was in dire need for an improvement as it needed to develop in a more effective and efficient manner. However, there was a need to make various advances in a number of aspects.
Maturity can be self-developed or self-imposed as well as developed with the help of others. When a person shows courage to demonstrate his understandings, he can be labeled as an enlightened person. In other words, a person will become enlightened when he was able to segregate between good and evil and demonstrate his learning in front of others.
In this regard, this essay will highlight the significant reforms initiated by the two leaders that had great impact on the society.
To start with, Frederic II initiated significant administrative, social and economical reforms in
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