Rationalism in America

Essay by mxpx8990High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2006

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Rationalism was a way of thinking that completely changed the ways of the eighteenth century. This period became known as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. Out of this era came the spiritual view of Deism and the intellectual framework American and French Revolutions. The document that officially separated America from Britain was the Deceleration of independence, which was heavily influenced by the concepts of the Enlightenment and Rationalism. Through the analysis of the Deceleration of independence, one can conclude that America was shaped by the Rationalist ideas of Philosophe John Locke, Deism, and the writings of Thomas Paine.

John Locke was a philosopher whose ideas heavily influenced the Enlightenment and the Declaration of independence. He developed important theories of social contracts and natural rights. Three of the most important rights were "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"(Preamble Jefferson). These rights became the basis of American freedom.

These rights were directly taken form the writings of John Locke, which shows how the Declaration was influenced by him and his Rationalist ideas. Another theory of Locke is the social contract concerning the government and the governed. According to the Declaration of independence "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed"(Preamble Jefferson). This idea is the basis of the American system of Democratic Republicanism. This idea was also directly taken from the Rationalist writings of John Locke. The rights described in the Declaration were made possible by Deist beliefs.

Deism is a spiritual system of beliefs that includes the belief in a creator or supreme being that created the universe but is not involved in it. These beliefs were held by many philosophers in the age of reason because they focused on using their intellect instead of being confined...