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The American Revolution was heavily influenced by Enlightenment ideas expressed by Voltaire, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Locke, and Beccaria, which resulted in a newly reformed government and independence from Britain to become an equal, independent...

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    Thesis Continued
    country, similarly to how the French Revolution was based upon the ideas of freedom and equality.
  • John Locke

    John Locke
    John Locke was an enlightenment thinker of the 17th century. He believed that people are born with the three natural rights of life, liberty, and property. He also believes that the people have the power to overthrow their government if they fail to protect those three rights. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy states , “However, if the state reneged on the social contract by failing to protect those natural rights, then the people had a right to revolt and form a new government”
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    John Locke Continued
    ( Like Locke states, the people of the thirteen colonies were not pleased with the stamp act so they tried to overthrow their government.
  • Voltaire

    Voltaire was a philosopher during the Enlightenment era. He focused mainly on writing. Some of his most famous writings included his opinions of the allowance of freedom of religion. Voltaire was not in favor of the Bible or the Roman Catholic Church. He was an against something called organized religion. This is where the beliefs and rituals are systematically arranged, so no one has a say in what or how they practice. Other than religion, Voltaire believed in the abolition of punishment...
  • Voltaire

    and equal rights for all men. Encyclopedia Britannica states, “Again and again Voltaire returned to his chosen themes: the establishment of religious tolerance, the growth of material prosperity, respect for the rights of man by the abolition of torture and useless punishments” ( So, Voltaire was a supporter of rights and religious freedoms, which is what is listed in the Bill of Rights.
  • Rousseau

    live and the judges who shall enforce those rules” ( This Declaration is Similar to Rousseau’s ideas as they both gave people the right to decide how they wanted to be governed, and the right to back out if they did not believe in the practices.
  • Rousseau

    Rousseau, another enlightenment thinker, believed that the government is a social contract between the government and the people. He also believed that if the government does anything besides protect the people and their natural rights then the people can back out. American Enlightenment Thought states, “Perhaps more of a democrat than Locke, Rousseau insisted in The Social Contract (1762) that citizens have a right of self-government, choosing the rules by which they...
  • Beccaria

    Cesare Beccaria, one of the first enlightenment thinkers to discuss the means of criminal justice, expressed the ideas of trials. He believed that the use of torture and capital punishment should be abolished.  He stated that those types of punishments should only be used on crimes in which those actions needed to be taken. He also believed that everyone had the right to a free trail with a judge and in front of a jury. Constitution Society states, " No man can be judged a criminal until he be..
  • Beccaria

    found guilty; nor can society take from him the public protection until it have been proved that he has violated the conditions on which it was granted" (  The men of the Boston Massacre were denied the right to a trial in front of the jury, and denied a legal assistant until John Adams was found. Due to the ideas that Beccaria expressed, the laws were changed so that everyone had the right to what he viewed as a three trial.  
  • Mary Wollstonecraft continued

    Mary Wollstonecraft continued
    of her time deliberately trained women to be frivolous and incapable” ( Mary fought so that women were seen as more than just people who cleaned and took care of the children. She wanted them to be able to hold higher up positions. Many women’s rights promoters that followed her built upon her writings.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft

    Mary Wollstonecraft
    Mary Wollstonecraft was an early advocate for human rights. She believed women should have the same opportunities that men do. Mary suggested that an education system be made that allows women to take the same advantages as men, so they will be qualified to hold different positions besides housework. Encyclopedia Britannica states, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the trailblazing works of feminism. Published in 1792, Wollstonecraft’s work argued that the educational system...
  • The Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act
    The stamp act, passed it 1765, was a direct tax imposed on the citizens of the British 13 colonies of North America and ensured that certain printed items must be published with a stamp on them. The stamps costed a tax dollar that must be paid in British currency. This angered the colonists. The New World Encyclopedia states, “All 13 colonies protested vehemently, as popular leaders like Henry in Virginia and Otis in Massachusetts rallied the people in opposition. A secret group,...
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    The Stamp Act Continued
    , the "Sons of Liberty," formed in many towns, threatening violence if anyone sold the stamps” ( The people of this area were not pleased with the decisions their government had made, so they tried to overthrow it. This is similar to the ideas expressed by John Locke.
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    Declaration Of Independence Continued
    ( This was ultimately a contract between the government and the people, stating that we have three natural rights and the government shall protect and respect them.
  • Declaration Of Independence

    Declaration Of Independence
    In 1776 the 13 colonies voted unanimously to adopt the Declaration of Independence. This document stated that each man is born equal. While being equal, we are subjected to 3 natural rights that the government is never to violate. The declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"...
  • Boston Massacre Continued

    Boston Massacre Continued
    manslaughter, and not murder, which resulted in them escaping the death penalty. Also, thanks to the benefit of the clergy, the men limited the time that they had to spend in prison. 
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    On March 5th, 1770 British soldiers opened fire in the streets of Boston. This event resulted in the death of 5 people. An article on the Boston Massacre states, “The British officer in charge, Capt. Thomas Preston, was arrested for manslaughter, along with eight of his men; all were later acquitted” ( Originally, the shooters of the Boston massacre were arrested. Later, they were then all freed from their criminal charges.The soldiers were only charged with,...
  • The Bill of RIghts

    The Bill of RIghts
    • The bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments that make up the constitution. Written by James Madison, former president of the United States, the bill of rights contains strict guidelines of how the government is to hold their power. The bill of Rights of the United States of America says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to...
  • The Bill of Rights Continued

    The Bill of Rights Continued
    assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” ( This amendment was in place to make sure that church and state stayed separated. The government was not to favor one religion, nor was it supposed to forbid the practice of any kind of religion at all. Overall the amendment was to make sure people could practice the religion they wanted, not one that the government required them to. The government would have no say in religion.
  • Women's Rights After the Revolution

    Women's Rights After the Revolution
    After the American Revolution, women began to become aware of the rights that they were being denied. Women were not allowed to openly participate in politics. Women were seen as the weaker sex, and were not valued outside of jobs like housework. U.S History states, "And Abigail Adams, an early advocate of women's rights, could only encourage her husband John, to...
  • Women's Rights After the Revolution Continued

    Women's Rights After the Revolution Continued
    to 'REMEMBER THE LADIES' when drawing up a new federal government. She could not participate in the creation of this government, however" ( Abigail Adams, a women's rights advocate, did not have the rights to inherit her husband's estate without a fight and therefore had to fight the men for it. So, her and other women started to make women's rights ideas prominent in their area. 
  • Works Cited

    Works Cited
    “American Revolution.” Jama Masjid, Delhi - New World Encyclopedia,
    “American Enlightenment Thought.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Staff. “Boston Massacre.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,
    “Bill of Rights.” Bill of Rights Institute,
  • Work Cited

    Work Cited
    Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Mary Wollstonecraft.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 Apr. 2018,
    “The Declaration of Independence.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration,
    Pomeau, René Henry. “Voltaire.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 21 Mar. 2018,
  • Works Cited

    Works Cited
    “Cesare Beccaria: Of Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 16.” Constitution Society: Everything Needed to Decide Constitutional Issues,
    Allen, Francis A. “Cesare Beccaria.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 8 Mar. 2018, Staff. “Boston Massacre.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,