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Enlightenment Ideas

Essay by   •  May 30, 2011  •  Essay  •  370 Words (2 Pages)  •  985 Views

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In the late 1700's, ideas of the Enlightenment began to come into affect. In North America, the American government started to form after two famous documents were finished, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States. The Political and Social ideas of Rousseau and Baccaria from the Enlightenment are replicated in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The Declaration was used to declare independence, and the Constitution was written to limit the powers of government.

The Enlightenment was a period after the Renaissance where philosophers and scientists began to question previous ideas, which explains the motto of the enlightenment, "Dare to know", created by Kant. The Declaration and the Constitution contains ideas from Locke, Montesquieu, Baccaria, and Rousseau, along with studied history. Two of the philosophers, Rousseau and Baccaria influenced the documents in several ways. Some of their ideas dealt with Judicial and majority ideas.

Baccaria was against unjust punishments and such of that manner. This idea related to the Declaration as the framers wrote of how the king protected his soldiers from punishments of crimes, while the king waged destruction on the people of the thirteen colonies as punishment for their rebellions. The constitution replicates Baccaria's idea in its text about the judicial system. People are granted trials of all crimes by jury. With fair trials, punishments would be just.

Rousseau believed people should make an agreement with each other to form a group which would follow the "will of majority." Such groups, as described in the Declaration of Independence, were not allowed by the British monarch. He would seize the groups for they often opposed him. In the constitution, this idea was made into affect by creating the "House of Representatives." With such representation, majority rules. It is written that two-thirds of the house must agree in order for a law, or bill, etc. were to pass or be vetoed.

In conclusion, many ideas were used to create U.S. documents. Some of the framers of these documents, such as Thomas Jefferson, felt that some of the philosophers like John Locke were the greatest philosophers of their time. With the successful creation of these documents, it has lead to a very successful government in the United States.

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