The colonies denied the Americans their rights and it is these rights that they fought to attain. Americans were mistreated, denied the right to freedom suffered inequality and tolerated a religion that came with the British colonies. The ideas of the American Revolution were born through enlightenment. Enlightenment explored the ideas of empowerment, reasonability, and reciprocity. Enlightenment was hence the age of reason, intellectuals, and philosophers who channeled freedom in American from its colonies. As an intellectual Enlightenment movement, it used religious tolerance, freedom of speech, freedom of press and equality to win against the British colonies. To become their own, the Americans had to use enlightenment in order to overcome the colonies. The leaders who led the Enlightenment sought to acquire freedom by demanding freedom changes that would be beneficial to them in the future. Prominent figures of the Revolutionary War argued for a revolt against English tyrannical rule through presenting how the inequality of the monarchical system violated ideas of Enlightenment thought of which American ideals were built including the natural rights of man, self-determination, and freedom of speech.
Benjamin Franklin saw wise leadership as one of the greatest ways to conquer the colonizers. In his opinion, choosing wise and good leaders to act as governors would effective study about the colonists and hence advance their prosperity Consistently, the Americans would defeat them when they have power in leadership positions. In addition to wise leaders, Benjamin Franklin considers sending wise and learned and upright judges to fight with the colonists in the achievement of justice. Hence, relying on wise, upright, learned and good men for leadership posts would be an effective way to deliver the American from the bondage of colonists. Since power is vested in people, and as such strengthening the leaders would consequently empower the citizens. According to James Otis, leaders advocated for Enlightenment ideals such as the balance of power to grant citizens greater liberty Besides, they fought to have the spirit of laws translated into a language they could understand such that people could have more power and freedom. To understand the laws of the country and nature, required wise and learned people and it is for this reason that Benjamin Franklin advocated for the election of wise, upright and good leaders.
The ultimate power to achieve the needs of a country is vested in the people of that country. This statement has been affirmed by various scholars who compelled citizens to use their power to expel the bad from society. James Otis posits that “the supreme absolute power is originally and ultimately in the people…” In this regard, if the colonists deny people their rights, they take away power from them leaving them powerless. With no power, people cannot make any absolute decision or denounce any divine right. Slavery takes power from people. As a result, James Otis was the proponent of using the ultimate power and the sovereignty conferred by the people. In affirmation to Otis’s statement, Franklin alluded that “much of the strength of government depends on the opinion of the people.” It is, therefore, plausible that a leader cannot achieve and neither can a government deliver its mandate without people who enter into a contract and agree to obey the set rules in exchange for security, education, health, and law. Citizens possess a natural right to own property and while in possession, they can never retract without their consent. Moreover, a leader who infringes the rights of citizens by denying the contract that they entered in, people are doomed to fail since the same citizens can resist and depose him.
The inequality depicted by the monarchical system, of leadership violates the ideas of enlightenment and it is for this reason that James Otis advocated for the power of people to legislate. According to Otis, “The power to legislate must be placed in the hands of the people.” Through this statement, Otis is imminently advocating for the representation of the Americans in the British Parliament. He further stated that people should be allowed to bear the burden and at the same time be allowed to enjoy the associated rights. Otis found it extremely odd to separate right and burden yet they are experienced by the same individual.
Although the use of Enlightenment ideals received huge liking, various influential people like Patrick Henry saw death as an alternative to liberty. In his speech, he argued in opposition to the British Crown and that it is not possible to talk about peace when they were already in the war. War must be fought by war and not peace. Patrick Henry posited that since their brethren were already in the field fighting a war, there was o need for them to stare and watch them but reiterate through an equal measure. The British Crown’s massing of its military forces has already started the war and starting to use peace and the enlightenment ideals would not win in the state of war. In Henry’s words, what was at stake was the very identity of free citizens and nothing else, and hence if there was no liberty war must prevail. He posits that “Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort.” This statement demonstrates that the England colonialists had vowed to use the war against the Americans for not accepting their ruling. It was, therefore, fitting that the only way to subvert their power was to use the war against them is they wanted. Franklin held similar views on the use of war against the colonialists. He stated that they needed to convert the brave and honest officers into pimping tide-waiters and at the same time into colony officers. Through this conversion, they would be able to declare war against the colonialists. Franklin further supports the use of liberty in liberating the citizens from the bondage of colonialists. He saw having constitutional liberty of both conscience and person as a valuable thing. Franklin saw an impossibility of the Kings, Commons and the Lords taking the Habeas Corpus right from people. Time had to resist any deprival of exercising religion, used as slavery or being objects of rape. It was hence a real transformation that was to be transformed through liberty for better or worse. By clearly stating that it was either war or liberty, the colonialists found it difficult to continue using their power against the Americans and this continued to freedom. Such threats against the British Crown declared through war is a critical factor that made the Americans achieve revolution.
The three authors also agree on the foundation of the government on supreme sovereign, necessities of natures and the good of the entire good of humankind. The intention of the rulers ought to deliver actions that appease the citizens and ones that are generally accepted by the whole society. According to Otis, “Salus Populi Suprema lexesto, is of the law of nature, and part of that grand charter given the human race” showing that the human race should achieve the utmost good from the government. However, the British colonialists tend to derail people from enjoying the utmost good they are supposed to enjoy. Franklin also supports the idea of the common good by stating that the government should put the affections of its affection into consideration and bore their grievances patiently. Conversely, Henry posits that people do not become weak by using properly the power that nature has provided.
In conclusion, the ideas of Enlightenment were fundamental in achieving the America Revolution and hence an anti-colonial war that made Americans attain independence from the England colonizers. As evident from the analysis, the relentless use of Enlightenment was critical in delivering the Americans from the bondage of their colonizers. One of the Enlightenment ideals advocated for by the philosophers includes the use of nature if the government where they fought for the inclusion of citizens in the government to give them power. When people have power, they can achieve much. To some people, it appeared as if the use of peace would not win and hence suggested use if military forces. Despite the argument that use of military could serve best to restore the country, the use of Enlightenment ideals overpowers such forces.
Milestone Documents. “Benjamin Franklin: “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One”.” Accessed June 7, 2019. https://www.milestonedocuments.com/documents/view/benjamin-franklins-rules-by-which-a-great-empire-may-be-reduced-to-a-small/text
Milestone Documents. “James Otis: The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved.” Accessed June 7, 2019. https://www.milestonedocuments.com/documents/view/james-otis-the-rights-of-the-british-colonies-asserted-and-proved-/text
Milestone Documents. “Patrick Henry: “Liberty or Death” Speech.” Accessed June 7, 2019. https://www.milestonedocuments.com/documents/view/patrick-henrys-liberty-or-death-speech/text