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This is evident by the early colonial documents such as the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties Two native-born Americans, Samuel Johnson and Jonathan Edwardswere first influenced by these philosophers; they then adapted and extended their Enlightenment ideas to develop their own American theology and philosophy.
Both were originally ordained Puritan Congregationalist ministers who embraced much of the new learning of the Enlightenment. Both were Yale educated and Berkeley influenced idealists who became influential college presidents.
Both were influential in the development of American political philosophy and the works of the Founding Fathers.
But Edwards based his reformed Puritan theology on Calvinist doctrine, while Johnson converted to the Anglican episcopal religion the Church of Englandthen based his new American moral philosophy on William Wollaston's Natural Religion.
Late in the century, Scottish Innate or Common Sense Realism replaced the native schools of these two rivals in the college philosophy curricula of American colleges; it would remain the dominant philosophy in American academia up to the Civil War.
They were first opened and studied by an eighteen-year-old graduate student from Guilford, Connecticutthe young American Samuel Johnsonwho had also just found and read Lord Francis Bacon 's Advancement of Learning. Johnson wrote in his Autobiography, "All this was like a flood of day to his low state of mind" and that "he found himself like one at once emerging out of the glimmer of twilight into the full sunshine of open day.
He began to teach the Enlightenment curriculum there, and thus began the American Enlightenment. One of his students for a brief time was a fifteen-year-old Jonathan Edwards.
Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards is considered to be "America's most important and original philosophical theologian.
The non-material mind consists of understanding and will, and it is understanding, interpreted in a Newtonian framework, that leads to Edwards' fundamental metaphysical category of Resistance. Whatever features an object may have, it has these properties because the object resists. Resistance itself is the exertion of God's power, and it can be seen in Newton's laws of motionwhere an object is "unwilling" to change its current state of motion; an object at rest will remain at rest and an object in motion will remain in motion.
Though Edwards reformed Puritan theology using Enlightenment ideas from natural philosophy, and Locke, Newton, and Berkeley, he remained a Calvinist and hard determinist.
Jonathan Edwards also rejected the freedom of the willsaying that "we can do as we please, but we cannot please as we please. Enlightenment[ edit ] While the 17th- and early 18th-century American philosophical tradition was decidedly marked by religious themes and the Reformation reason of Ramus, the 18th century saw more reliance on science and the new learning of the Age of Enlightenmentalong with an idealist belief in the perfectibility of human beings through teaching ethics and moral philosophylaissez-faire economicsand a new focus on political matters.
So he crafted one. Johnson's moral philosophy was influenced by Descartes and Locke, but more directly by William Wollaston 's Religion of Nature Delineated and the idealist philosopher of George Berkeley, with whom Johnson studied while Berkley was in Rhode Island between and Johnson strongly rejected Calvin's doctrine of Predestination and believed that people were autonomous moral agents endowed with freewill and Lockean natural rights.
His fusion philosophy of Natural Religion and Idealism, which has been called "American Practical Idealism",  was developed as a series of college textbooks in seven editions between and These works, and his dialogue Raphael, or The Genius of the English America, written at the time of the Stamp Act crisisgo beyond his Wollaston and Berkeley influences;  Raphael includes sections on economicspsychologythe teaching of children, and political philosophy.
His moral philosophy is defined in his college textbook Elementa Philosophica as "the Art of pursuing our highest Happiness by the practice of virtue".
It was influential in its day: Three members of the Committee of Five who edited the Declaration of Independence were closely connected to Johnson: Founders' political philosophy[ edit ] Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt PealeAbout the time of the Stamp Actinterest rose in civil and political philosophy.
In continuing with the chief concerns of the Puritans in the 17th century, the Founding Fathers debated the interrelationship between God, the state, and the individual.
Resulting from this were the United States Declaration of Independencepassed inand the United States Constitutionratified in The Constitution sets forth a federated republican form of government that is marked by a balance of powers accompanied by a checks and balances system between the three branches of government: Even Franklin professed the need for a "public religion"  and would attend various churches from time to time.
Jefferson was vestryman at the evangelical Calvinistical Reformed Church of Charlottesville, Virginiaa church he himself founded and named in suggesting that at this time of life he was rather strongly affiliated with a denomination and that the influence of Whitefield and Edwards reached even into Virginia.
But the founders who studied or embraced Johnson, Franklin, and Smith's non-denominational moral philosophy were at least influenced by the deistic tendencies of Wollaston's Natural Religion, as evidenced by "the Laws of Nature, and Nature's God" and "the pursuit of Happiness" in the Declaration.
He was a Presbyterian minister and a delegate who joined the Continental Congress just days before the Declaration was debated. His moral philosophy was based on the work of the Scottish philosopher Francis Hutchesonwho also influenced John Adams. Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, claimed in the s that this imported Scottish philosophy was the basis for the founding documents of America.
Ronald Hamowy published a critique of Garry Wills's Inventing America,  concluding that "the moment [Wills's] statements are subjected to scrutiny, they appear a mass of confusions, uneducated guesses, and blatant errors of fact.
Common Sense, which has been described as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era",  provides justification for the American revolution and independence from the British Crown. Though popular inhistorian Pauline Maier cautions that, "Paine's influence was more modest than he claimed and than his more enthusiastic admirers assume.
The American incarnation of Romanticism was transcendentalism and it stands as a major American innovation. The 19th century also saw the rise of the school of pragmatism, along with a smaller, Hegelian philosophical movement led by George Holmes Howison that was focused in St.John Locke is one of the founders of “liberal” political philosophy, the philosophy of individual rights and limited government.
This is the philosophy on which the American Constitution and all Western political systems today are based. What Are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System? The founding documents are the true primary sources of America.
Writings such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and others written from to , showcase the philosophical, traditional, and political foundations on which our nation was built and that continue to shape our free society.
The Founding Fathers of the American Constitution made it clear what authors and texts had influenced their own thinking on the idea of liberty. We have examined the speeches, letters, journalism, and theoretical works of the founding generation in order to draw up .
Unit 1 What Are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System?
We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution, Level 3 philosophy, and literature of the ancient world as well as with the ideas of their own time. Unit 1 What Are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System.
American philosophy is the activity, corpus, and tradition of philosophers affiliated with the United urbanagricultureinitiative.com Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while it lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and shaping collective American identity over the history of the nation.".
The political thinker and historian Alexis de.