American Enlightenment

Jeff P, Trevor O, Ryan H, Haruka K, Noa L


The American Enlightenment is a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the period 1714–1818, which led to the American Revolution, and the creation of the American Republic. It was influenced by the 18th-century European Enlightenment and its own native American Philosophy. The American Enlightenment applied scientific reasoning to things like politics, science, and religion, promoting religious tolerance, and restored literature, the arts, and music as important disciplines and professions worthy of study in colleges.

The "new-model" American style colleges of King's College New York , and the College of Philadelphia were founded. Other colleges like Yale College and the College of William & Mary were also formed and reformed. Puritan colleges like the College of New Jersey and Harvard reformed their studies to include natural philosophy, modern astronomy, and math.

The foremost representatives of the American Enlightenment included men who were presidents of colleges, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Clap, and Ezra Stiles, and moral philosophers Samuel Johnson and William Smith. The leading Enlightenment political thinkers were John Adams, James Madison, James Wilson, and Alexander Hamilton, and polymaths Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

Famous Indivisuals:

How the time period connects to the literature:

  • American Enlightenment came while America was still a British colony. (1714-1818)
  • The Age of Enlightenment is the time period in which cultural and social changes occurred emphasizing reason, analysis and individualism rather than traditional ways of thinking.
  • Enlightenment thinkers had begun to question previously accepted truths about who should hold the power in government.
  • As products of the Enlightenment, however, revolutionary writers focused their energies on matters of government rather than religion.

Age Of Enlightenment - Influence On America

Works Cited

"Enlightenment." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

"Famous People of the Enlightenment -." Biography Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

"The Enlightenment in America." The Enlightenment in America. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.