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American Enlightenment Essay


What were the major beliefs and developments in philosophy and science linked to the Enlightenment?
The enlightenment thinkers believed in the holistic improvement of human conditions rather than concentrating on the ideas of religion and afterlife. Correspondingly, they believed in rationality, science, religious tolerance, and natural right that were inherent to the survival of humanity (Pinker 8). In particular, the thinkers opposed the absolute powers of the monarchies and the fixed doctrines propagated by the Roman Catholic Church (Barnett 15). The major philosophical developmentand science linked to the Enlightenment was the concept of reductionism (Outram 3).

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The philosophical stance enabled the enlightenment thinkers to explain the unique relationships between different phenomena. Other important philosophical developments during the period included the concept of reason or rationality and skepticism. In addition, the 17th-century scientific revolution has a close association with the enlightenment period characterized by the development of various empirical procedures of acquiring knowledge.

Who were the major Enlightenment figures in Europe? In America?
Major enlightenment personalities in Europe such as Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau made important contributions towards promoting enlightenment values and beliefs. The individuals were conscious of the advancement of humans through logic, rationality, and criticism (Jessie). Alternatively, major enlightenment figures in America include John Adams, Thomas Paine, and James Wilson among others (Robert). The identified figures promoted the application of scientific reasoning in explaining political and religious facts.

How were the Founding Fathers of the US exemplars of the Enlightenment?
Most individuals during the enlightenment period opposed authoritarianism, irrationality, and influence of the church on the state. They championed for the development of reason and scientific thoughts to advance insatiable human needs (IEP). American Founding Fathers such as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson articulated different philosophical stances associated with the period. For instance, Benjamin Franklin was a leading scientist known for his revolutionary work on the expansion of electricity. Correspondingly, Thomas Jefferson promoted the enlightenment ideas affirming that liberty and equality were fundamental rights to humans (U.S. Constitution).

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Works Cited
Barnett, Stephen J. “The Enlightenment and religion: The myths of modernity.” 2018.
IEP. American Enlightenment Thought. n.d.,www.iep.utm.edu/amer-enl/. Accessed 02 September 2019.
Jessie, Szalay. “What Was the Enlightenment?” Live Science, 2016,www.livescience.com/55327-the-enlightenment.html. Accessed 02 September 2019
Outram, Dorinda. The Enlightenment. Vol. 58. Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Pinker, Steven. Enlightenment now: The case for reason, science, humanism, and progress. Penguin, 2018.
Robert, Wilde. “18 Key Thinkers of the Enlightenment.” ThoughtsCo, 2018, www.thoughtco.com/key-thinkers-of-the-enlightenment-1221868. Accessed 02 September 2019.
U.S. Constitution. Enlightenment Influence on America, n.d. sites.google.com/site/enlightenmentinfluenceamerica/us-constitution. Accessed 02 September 2019.

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