Enlightenment Is the Term Given to a Essay

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Enlightenment is the term given to a historical era in the eighteenth century, roughly, that falls between the Scientific Revolution and the American and French Revolutions. As befits an epoch that followed the Scientific Revolution, the chief hallmark of the Enlightenment was a faith in reason and rationality -- the basic notion was that the scientific progress achieved by Sir Isaac Newton meant that the human mind might be capable of understanding all things in the same way. Accordingly, Babcock notes that another commonly used term for the Enlightenment is "the Age of Reason" (Babcock 221).

Because America was founded during the Enlightenment, there are plenty of traces of Enlightenment modes of thinking available in America today, built into the American system from its inception. Babcock notes (for example) that the rationalistic "Neoclassical" style of art popular during the Enlightenment was exemplified in architecture by the designs of Thomas Jefferson (Babcock 222). If Monticello is an example of Enlightenment fashion in design, so is the U.S.
Constitution. The Constitution's notorious refusal to mention God within its text, combined with its explicit prohibition of religious tests for holding public office, demonstrates the extent to which the wholly secular values of the Enlightenment were internalized by America's founders. As Babcock notes, "the eighteenth-century philosophers…believed that man is…capable of social perfection" (Babcock 223). Perhaps the most famous eighteenth-century example of this we can point to is America's founding document, which announces in its opening sentence the intention to "form a more perfect" social institution. Babcock also notes that the "all-seeing eye of reason" which is depicted on the Great Seal of the United States….....

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