The effect on Enlightenment ideals on the development and growth of the American government.

Essay by copelandrocksHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2006

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The United States of America is a relatively young country compared to most of the world. It has only been habited for a little less than 400 hundred years and has been unified as we know it today for 230. The vast majority of this country's population has ancestors who immigrated to the US long ago. These people brought many ideas with them, and the knowledge of European philosophers. This was even before the Revolutionary War and the ideas of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau influenced the founding fathers of out country immensely when they were writing such important documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Although some American values today were not impacted by European philosophers of the Enlightenment, those philosophers still influenced our political and intellectual values today.

Some American values were invented by only Americans with American influence. In other words, there was no visible influence from the European philosophers.

In fact, some American values today contradict the values that those philosophers had. For example, Rousseau's theory of a communist government with a direct democracy is rejected in our government today. Instead, we have a capitalistic republican democracy. In Rousseau's opinion, everyone should have a voice in deciding everything. Today that is accepted as being virtually impossible and highly impractical. Another thing that the philosophers did not influence was the aesthetic values of America today. America is currently focused on contemporary art which is derived from the classic art of Europe. However, classic art is still the most appreciated and most widespread art in Europe today. That way, one can conclude that Americans reached their own art tastes without the influence of the Enlightenment philosophers. Overall, the philosophers of the Enlightenment era did not influence core American values today.

By simply reading the Declaration...