It is very muddled, particularly towards the end.
References and Further Reading 1. Enlightenment Age Thinking The pre- and post-revolutionary era in American history generated propitious conditions for Enlightenment thought to thrive on an order comparable to that witnessed in the European Enlightenments.
In the post-revolutionary years, a whole generation of American thinkers would found a new system of government on liberal and republican principles, articulating their enduring ideas in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and the United States Constitution.
Although distinctive features arose in the eighteenth-century American context, much of the American Enlightenment was continuous with parallel experiences in British and French society. Four themes recur in both European and American Enlightenment texts: Many Enlightenment thinkers—especially the French philosophes, such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot—subscribed to some form of skepticism, doubting appeals to miraculous, transcendent and supernatural forces that potentially limit the scope of individual choice and reason.
Moderate and Radical Besides identifying dominant themes running throughout the Enlightenment period, some historians, such as Henry May and Jonathan Israel, understand Enlightenment thought as divisible into two broad categories, each reflecting the content and intensity of ideas prevalent at the time.
The moderate Enlightenment signifies commitments to economic liberalism, religious toleration and constitutional politics. In contrast to its moderate incarnation, the radical Enlightenment conceives enlightened thought through the prism of revolutionary rhetoric and classical Republicanism.
Influenced as it was by the British and French, American Enlightenment thought integrates both moderate and radical elements. Chronology American Enlightenment thought can also be appreciated chronologically, or in terms of three temporal stages in the development of Enlightenment Age thinking.
The middle stage extends from to just a few years after the start of the American Revolution in It is characterized by an exploding fascination with science, religious revivalism and experimental forms of government, especially in the United States.
However, American Enlightenment thinkers were not always of a single mind with their European counterparts.
For instance, several American Enlightenment thinkers—particularly James Madison and John Adams, though not Benjamin Franklin—judged the French philosophes to be morally degenerate intellectuals of the era.
John Adams and James Madison perpetuated the elitist and anti-democratic idea that to invest too much political power in the hands of uneducated and property-less people was to put society at constant risk of social and political upheaval.
In the Two Treatises on Government andLocke argued against the divine right of kings and in favor of government grounded on the consent of the governed; so long as people would have agreed to hand over some of their liberties enjoyed in a pre-political society or state of nature in exchange for the protection of basic rights to life, liberty and property.
However, if the state reneged on the social contract by failing to protect those natural rights, then the people had a right to revolt and form a new government.
Perhaps more of a democrat than Locke, Rousseau insisted in The Social Contract that citizens have a right of self-government, choosing the rules by which they live and the judges who shall enforce those rules. Many of these were shared with European Enlightenment thinkers, but in some instances took a uniquely American form.
Deism European Enlightenment thinkers conceived tradition, custom and prejudice Vorurteil as barriers to gaining true knowledge of the universal laws of nature. Deists appreciated God as a reasonable Deity.
A reasonable God endowed humans with rationality in order that they might discover the moral instructions of the universe in the natural law. Deists were typically though not always Protestants, sharing a disdain for the religious dogmatism and blind obedience to tradition exemplified by the Catholic Church.
Rather than fight members of the Catholic faith with violence and intolerance, most deists resorted to the use of tamer weapons such as humor and mockery.
Some struggled with the tensions between Calvinist orthodoxy and deist beliefs, while other subscribed to the populist version of deism advanced by Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason.
Despite the near absence of God in human life, American deists did not deny His existence, largely because the majority of the populace still remained strongly religious, traditionally pious and supportive of the good works for example monasteries, religious schools and community service that the clergy did.
Liberalism Another idea central to American Enlightenment thinking is liberalism, that is, the notion that humans have natural rights and that government authority is not absolute, but based on the will and consent of the governed.
Rather than a radical or revolutionary doctrine, liberalism was rooted in the commercial harmony and tolerant Protestantism embraced by merchants in Northern Europe, particularly Holland and England.
Liberals favored the interests of the middle class over those of the high-born aristocracy, an outlook of tolerant pluralism that did not discriminate between consumers or citizens based on their race or creed, a legal system devoted to the protection of private property rights, and an ethos of strong individualism over the passive collectivism associated with feudal arrangements.
Liberals also preferred rational argumentation and free exchange of ideas to the uncritical of religious doctrine or governmental mandates.Benjamin Franklin (b.
–d. ) was born and raised in colonial Boston, Massachusetts, in the waning years of Puritan hegemony. He was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer.
The American Philosophical Society was founded by Franklin in ; its Library now holds as much as 75 percent of the surviving papers of Benjamin Franklin (see Finding Aid), as well as considerable collections of images and artifacts relating to Benjamin Franklin.
A summary of Analysis in Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
condescending tone, yet it praises the virtue of humility. And perhaps most egregious of all, the part of Ben's life with the most historical significance--the American Revolution--is entirely omitted from the work. one of which is because it. Video: Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution: Importance & Role Benjamin Franklin was in many ways the premier American Renaissance man.
His life and career were as eclectic as they were. Benjamin Franklin FRS FRSE (January 17, [O.S. January 6, ] – April 17, ) was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
Benjamin Franklin () Contributing Editor: David M. Larson Classroom Issues and Strategies. The primary problem involved in teaching Benjamin Franklin in an American literature course is persuading students to view Franklin as a writer.