Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
America: A Land Birthed By Reason
The Age of Reason was both literally and metaphorically a defining period in the history of the United States of America. The thought processes, ideas and works that were birthed, created and recorded are some of the most monumental philosophies this country has produced to date; not to mention, the very principles that this nation is founded and relies on to help govern its’ people were conceived in this age. Those ideals were and are the product(s) of some unbearable years of tragedy, unfair treatment and tremendous intellect, courage and bravery by the Founding Fathers and so many more. All the significant ideas that came from this time period have helped form who the U.S.A. has been over the years and who it is today. However, the three most significant ideas of the Age of Reason were “common sense,” a different view of God and religion, as well as the role it plays in the lives of its’ citizens and the concept of democracy.
The first significant idea from the Age of Reason that arguably affected the most foundational American settlers was “Common Sense”—referring to both the literal meaning and the writing by Thomas Paine. The Age of Reason sparked a time period in the history of the United States where citizens (or settlers, referring to pre-Revolution) were not well-educated and often times did not know how to think for themselves. This led to a lot of blind following of Britain and its’ rules and regulations—whether they were right, wrong or anywhere in-between. Urged immediate independence from Britain. Paine, a native Englishman, despised the societal hierarchy that existed in Britain in that day. This led to his eventual joining of the Revolutionists cause. Along the way, however, he became one of the more popular forward-thinkers of the Colonies. As a matter of fact, Benjamin Franklin recommending him as he arrived to the New World, dubbing him an “ingenious, worthy young man.” He led the way, as far as questioning the status quo was concerned, in the coming of the Revolution. He suggests in his pamphlet writing of “Common Sense” that in their newly formed civilization that “he [the reader] will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves: that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day” (Paine, 340). Paine wanted the settlers to begin to think more on their own, to become more level-headed and sensical. He felt as if the motherland of Britain lacked this quality in lieu of its traditional ways of life that mustn’t be questioned. Once people understood more of this concept, they too began to live and operate in a more logical way.
The second significant idea that hailed from the age of reason was a new and different view of God and/or the role of religion...