Throughout most of history humans have been controlled by absolute monarchies or regimes run by a single family. As well as given very few liberties and the ability to freely live their lives. It wasn’t until around the 1500’s that certain individuals began to freely think for themselves without the influence of their government and oppressors. Around 1775 the world began to see a major change in the way people think and go about defying their current system of government in the American revolution. But the American revolution didn’t start on its own with the masses, it was inspired by certain individuals who had the courage to stand up to their current government and inform the masses of their wrong doings. Writers like Tomas Pain with his Common Sense and free thinkers like John Locke and Benjamin Franklin all gave inspiration to the American Revolution. The United States would not be what it is today without their efforts.
One of the most important documents in American history would be the pamphlet Common Sense written by Tomas Pain. In this document Pain rallies the colonists to support the separation from Great Britain’s rule. In the pamphlet he states, I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence; I am clearly, positively, and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be so. (Common Sense). While supporting American independence he denounces the British monarchy and says that people are born in a state of equality. Paine also said that there are no natural rulers among men. And that everyone is born equally.
Common Sense gained so much traction in the American revolution that even George Washington read it to his men as inspiration before they went into battle. Not only did he rally the support of the colonists, but he also gave the united states an idea for a representative government to be used in order to replace the old regime. A few months after Common Sense was published the colonies passed the declaration of independence. Without Thomas pain and his ability to rally the colonists, the united states would not be the same country that it is today.
Another influential figure in the American revolution was Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin was a crucial figure in the American revolution because he was able to procure funds for the colonists to fight the British. In 1778, Benjamin Franklin and 2 different Americans became American diplomats in France. Benjamin Franklin met with several French diplomats, policy makers and even King Louis XVI who were all impressed with his thoughts, talents and writings. Because of Benjamin Franklin’s extreme influence in France throughout his 10 years there, the country that said they were officially neutral took great measures to help the United States during the Revolutionary War.
During the Revolutionary War, France agreed to lend the United States millions of dollars in aid, which allowed the U.S.warships in its harbors to fight and even let volunteers enlist to fight against British. Franklin was one among 5 members of the Continental Congress to be placed responsible of negotiating an accord between the U.S.and Great Britain. The 1783 accord of Paris was the results of their negotiations. Then in October of 1729, Benjamin Franklin bought the newspaper The Pennsylvania Gazette. With this he was able to push out propaganda for the American revolution. One of his most famous propaganda pieces was the join or die snake in 1754. This political cartoon become a symbol of unity between all the colonies. Benjamin Franklin’s ability to unify the colonies and gain financial support from France to the colonies played a crucial part in the success of the revolution.
The last great enlightenment thinker that influenced the American revolution was John Locke. One of Kohn Locke’s most important works was the Two treaties of government. According to history.wisc.edu the treaties of government was published in 1689 and attacked the tory beliefs that have been formed in the early seventeenth century. Within the two treaties of government John Locke states that the power of the king or government comes from the people who obey their rules in order to obtain law and security.
The second thing he states is that everyone has a natural right to hold property, which can never be taken without their consent. The last thing he states is that if a ruler decides to infringe on the terms of the contract that empowers or seize property, the people can overthrow and disobey him. Some other ideas that he had were that all men were created equal and was subject to no one but god. Locke also argues that it would be wise of the government to delegate their power to different bodies so that no branch of government would be too powerful. This idea can be seen today with the American government. After the revolution the founding fathers needed to create a government that was able to uphold the rights of the citizens but at the same time not be too powerful. So, what they did was they looked to john Locke’s works and idea and used them to established the three branches of government.
The enlightenment era was a very important influencer in the American revolution. The people who had the courage and determination to go against their government and even their way of living, have done a great service to this world. People like Thomas Pain who created common sense and gave inspiration to the men and woman who fought in the revolution, or Benjamin Franklin who was able to turn a neutral country into a great supporter for the Americans. Even John Locke, who gave our founding fathers the ideas of a newly well-constructed government and natural rights, all deserve recognition and praise for their outstanding achievements that helps shaped the country that we know today.
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