The American Enlightenment is a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the period 1714–1818, which led to the American Revolution, American Independence, the creation of the American Republic under the United States Constitution of 1787, the Bill of Rights in 1790, the development of Federal and State laws and institutions protecting the liberties defined in the constitution over the next three decades, and the War of 1812 or "Second War of Independence". Influenced by the 18th-century European Enlightenment, and its own native American Philosophy, the American Enlightenment applied scientific reasoning to politics, science, and religion, promoted religious tolerance, and restored literature, the arts, and music as important disciplines and professions worthy of study in colleges. The "new-model" American style colleges of King's College New York (now Columbia University), and the College of Philadelphia (now Penn) were founded, Yale College and the College of William & Mary were reformed, and a non-denominational moral philosophy replaced theology in many college curricula; even Puritan colleges such as the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) and Harvard reformed their curricula to include natural philosophy (science), modern astronomy, and math. The foremost representatives of the American Enlightenment included men who were Presidents of Colonial Colleges: Puritan religious leaders President Jonathan Edwards, President Thomas Clap, and President Ezra Stiles, and Anglican moral philosophers American President Samuel Johnson and Provost William Smith. It also included political thinkers John Adams, James Madison, James Wilson, and Alexander Hamilton, and polymaths Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
The Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they formed a union that would become a new nation—the United States of America. John Adams was a leader in pushing for independence, which was unanimously approved on July 2. A committee had already drafted the formal declaration, to be ready when Congress voted on independence.
Adams persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The national birthday, the Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, although Adams wanted July 2.
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state. Not all declarations of independence are successful and result in independence for these regions.]citation needed[
Such declarations are typically made without the consent of the associated state or union, and hence are sometimes called unilateral declarations of independence (UDIs), particularly by those who question the declarations' validity.]citation needed[
In this article, inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies of British America that supported the American Revolution are primarily referred to as "Americans," with occasional references to "Patriots," "Whigs," "Rebels" or "Revolutionaries." Colonists who supported the British in opposing the Revolution are usually referred to as "Loyalists" or "Tories." The geographical area of the thirteen colonies is often referred to simply as "America".
The American Revolution was a political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America. They first rejected the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them and then expelled all royal officials. By 1774 each colony had established a Provincial Congress or an equivalent governmental institution to govern itself, but still recognized the British Crown and their inclusion in the empire. The British responded by sending combat troops to re-establish royalist control. Through the Second Continental Congress, the Americans then managed the armed conflict in response to the British known as the American Revolutionary War (also: American War of Independence, 1775–83).
In political philosophy, the right of revolution (or right of rebellion) is the right or duty, variously stated throughout history, of the people of a nation to overthrow a government that acts against their common interests. Belief in this right extends back to ancient China, and it has been used throughout history to justify various rebellions, including the American Revolution and the French Revolution.
The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is claimed by some to be the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. It was supposedly signed on May 20, 1775, at Charlotte, North Carolina, by a committee of citizens of Mecklenburg County, who declared independence from Great Britain after hearing of the battle of Lexington. If the story is true, the Mecklenburg Declaration preceded the United States Declaration of Independence by more than a year. The authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration has been disputed since it was first published in 1819, forty-four years after it was reputedly written. There is no conclusive evidence to confirm the original document's existence, and no reference to it has been found in extant newspapers from 1775.
Many professional historians have maintained that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is an inaccurate rendering of an authentic document known as the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Mecklenburg Resolves were a set of radical resolutions passed on May 31, 1775, that fell short of an actual declaration of independence. Although published in newspapers in 1775, the text of the Mecklenburg Resolves was lost after the American Revolution and not rediscovered until 1838. Historians believe that the Mecklenburg Declaration was written in 1800 in an attempt to recreate the Mecklenburg Resolves from memory. According to this theory, the author of the Mecklenburg Declaration mistakenly believed that the Resolves had been a declaration of independence, and so he recreated the Resolves with language borrowed from the United States Declaration of Independence. Defenders of the Mecklenburg Declaration have argued that both the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Mecklenburg Resolves are authentic.
– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green)
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain (//), is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain (a term sometimes loosely applied to the whole state), the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east, the English Channel in the south and the Irish Sea in the west.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.