Group 1, kp 1+2 (1491-1754)

An insight into the origins of written American History

(KP2): Maryland Acts of Toleration:

On April 21st of 1649, it was the second set of laws mandating religious toleration in the European-infested North American colonies. The Act granted religious toleration to anyone who believed in Jesus and the Holy Trinity, a.k.a. every sect of Christianity. Ironically the Act only gave toleration to those who practiced different sects of Christianity but didn't grant much if any toleration for other organized religions. One of the biggest reasons why the act was so controversial for its time (in spite of how much toleration it actually mandated) because hence the name Maryland, Maryland was very deeply planted in its Catholic roots. Page 121-123 discusses how many of the citizens of Maryland had some controversy with the Quaker colonies and Quakers settling into Maryland.
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Enlightenment Thinkers' (except John Locke)

Some notable thinkers from the enlightenment include Francis Bacon, Descartes, Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson and Denis Diderot. The Enlightenment was so significant in 18th century European and American History because it showed both continents that they could think rationally and logistically rather than religiously. The Enlightenment as a whole could probably be best described as empowerment to empiricism and a gradual rejection of religious authority. Page 126 discusses how the Enlightenment made its voyage to America and its significant in both The New and The Old World. There were more significant thinkers that emerged during the Enlightenment in Europe than there were in North America but its significance lies more so in inspiring many American thinkers, including those listed above.

In addition to his education and interest in law, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America was a patron of the arts and education for others. As a child of the Enlightenment, he had an appreciation of the force of religion in the western world throughout history and the resultant conflicts that occurred when one faith had virtual control over the body politic. He manifested his concern by pursuing legislation in the Virginia General Assembly for religious toleration. While traveling this course, and with Madison’s aid, he obtained legislation for religious toleration. However, it did not mention respect for other religions nor include all faiths. It did, however, help in the dis-establishment of the Anglican Church in Virginia.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the country's founding fathers (and the man to grace the cover of the hundred dollar bill) was a very insightful thinker inspired by the Enlightenment. Author of Poor Richard's Almanack, Franklin wrote a book filled with over 300 aphorisms (which are moral principles or accepted truths). Franklin contributed to the Enlightenment through philosophy, provocative thinking making bold reflections of the times and of human nature in general. Also in charge of the Pennsylvania Gazette, one of the most prominent newspapers of the time until 1800.
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