Ideas Have Consequences

Ideas Have Consequences

BUNKERVILLE | God, Guns and Guts Comrades! by Mustang

Many people think of the American Revolution as a war.  It was that, but it was much more than that.  There would not have been a war, with all of its associated risks and penalties, were it not for the ideas that preceded it.

What ideas?

Isaac Newton (Wikipedia)

Actually, there were more than just a few.  They came to our forefathers from three sources: (1) European Enlightenment, (2) Traditional British legal and political values, and (3) A unique “American experience.”  It was from these sources that we arrived at a distinctly American worldview, a unique American philosophy, and an exceptional set of values.  As an off-shoot of the European enlightenment, our founding fathers also incorporated a careful study of human history, from the ancient Greek through the Roman Republic and Imperial period, and finally pre-colonial British history.

The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that began in the 1600’s.  It involved the greatest thinkers, such as Isaac Newton, who became key figures in modern history.  It also included the so-called Renaissance period, which evolved at different places, at different times, and in diverse ways.  The thinkers of the Enlightenment challenged old views, values, and traditions.  In particular, these men believed that in order for something to be factually valid, it must be rational, logical, debated, and carefully examined; it must not depend on superstition, or dogma, or simply matter of what has long been accepted.  Who were they, these thinkers?

They were, in addition to Newton, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Francois-Marie Arouet (who was known as Voltaire), Denis Diderot (co-founder of the Encyclopedia), and Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu.  They questioned such things as the divine right of kings.  They championed humanity by developing such notions that mankind is essentially of good character and intelligence; they believed that such men (and women) were capable of self-government[…]

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