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Philosophers Contributing to the United States Government

Luke Garbin

Philosophers during the mind-blowing enlightenment period are not recognized the way

they should be today. When they were recognized though, they were most recognized for their

new western ideas that they developed more and more in Europe. However, the philosophers

also influenced us by influencing the formation of the United States government. These

philosophers gave people in America advice on leading a government all the way back in the

1600s and 1700s. This resulted in some ways the United States government is today. Some of

the most important philosophers during this time period were John Locke, Immanuel Kant,

Montesquieu, Voltaire, Adam Smith, etc. They all had ideas they could influence the formation

of the United States Government. In that case, the Enlightenment philosophers influenced the

formation of the United States government by John Locke, and Voltaire.

The first Enlightenment philosopher that influenced the formation of the United States

government is John Locke. John Locke arguably was the best one out of all of the philosophers

during the Enlightenment period because of his outstanding political theories. Some of his ideas

were founding the British Empiricism, which was a practical philosophe movement that occurred

mostly in Britain. Also, another one of his ideas was contributing to the liberal government,

which means to have equal opportunity for every citizen. However, the most important thing

John Locke influenced was the United States Constitution. An example from the US

Constitution states Citizens should have the ability to have freedom of religion. He inspired

the United States Constitution because of his very strongly firm believer of everyone should have

natural rights. An example of a quote by John Locke is All mankindbeing all equal and

independent, no one ought to arm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions. This type of
idea is listed in the United States Constitution because of the brilliance of John Locke and his

influential mentality. That just shows people that lived over four hundred years ago can still

impact things that matter to us today like the American government.

The second Enlightenment philosopher that influenced the formation of the United States

government is Francois-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire. Voltaire was considered the greatest

French writer ever to live by most people. Voltaire, like John Locke, was a very inspirational

person to all kinds of events happening in his life. Most of Voltaires many accomplishments had

to do with writing, which translated into his greatest accomplishment of all time which was

writing the Dicctionairre philosophique describing Voltaires thought of freedom of religion. His

ideas then translated into the writing of the United States Constitution which allows freedom of

religion. A quote by Voltaire explaining his belief is, The truths of religion are never so well

understood as by those who have lost the power of reason. No one knows if we would have the

choice to pick are religion today if Voltaire never gave that idea. This is why America is very

grateful and respectful towards Voltaire because of his inspirational thoughts and movements

towards others.

The Enlightenment period brought many new changes to Europe, and surprisingly

America too. Most of these changes were in the hands of the Enlightenment philosophers.

Philosophers contributed to one main thing here in America and that is the United States

Constitution. They brought the ideas of the freedom of religion, freedom of press, and freedom

of speech. By doing this, it changed America to have the ability to have natural rights. These

inspirational ideas will never go away towards the foundation of the United States. This

happened because of explorers finding America before these ideas were thought of. In
conclusion, John Locke and Voltaire were two of the most important enlightenment philosophers

that influenced the formation of the United States government.