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The Era of the Enlightenment influenced nearly every aspect of modern American society. In America, Enlightenment ideas expressed by writers and leaders such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson still shape modern political arrangements, social organization, and economic structures. The United States became a nation during the height of the Enlightenment, and it is manifestly an expression of Enlightenment ideas concerning government, society, and economy. These ideas influenced the development of the American Revolution and eventually sparked the War for Independence. From the Declaration of Independence, drafted in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson, some of the ideals of the Enlightenment are expressed in the phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, which among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This eventually led to the founding of the United States as a nation with its power vested in the Constitution of the United States.

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• Discuss the ways in which Enlightenment ideas shaped the political, economic, or social institutions of the United States.
• Identify the Enlightenment individuals who contributed to 1 specific way in which the United States was shaped.

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• How would the Enlightenment ideas play a significant role during the American Revolution and War for Independence?
• Please give specific examples of how these ideas are still relevant to modern American society.

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