Key Differences between the Colonial Time Period and the Age of Reason: Compare and Contrast Essay

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Introduction:

The colonial time period and the Age of Reason were significant eras in the history of the United States, each characterized by distinct social, political, and cultural developments. In this compare and contrast essay, we will delve into the key differences between these two periods, shedding light on their contrasting ideologies, values, and contributions to the shaping of American society.

Body:

Historical Context:

The colonial time period refers to the era from the establishment of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown in 1607 until the American Revolution in the late 18th century. On the other hand, the Age of Reason, also known as the Enlightenment, emerged in the 18th century as a response to the intellectual and cultural shifts taking place in Europe.

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Role of Religion:

Religion played a central role in the colonial time period, with most of the colonists being deeply religious and practicing Christianity. Puritanism and other religious denominations heavily influenced daily life, social norms, and political structures. In contrast, the Age of Reason emphasized reason, rationality, and the scientific method, promoting a more secular and skeptical approach to religious beliefs.

Government and Political Ideals:

During the colonial time period, the colonies were largely under British rule, and the prevailing political structure was based on a system of monarchy. The colonists sought greater representation and autonomy, leading to the eventual push for independence. In contrast, the Age of Reason embraced democratic principles and advocated for individual liberties, inspired by Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke and Thomas Paine. This period set the stage for the American Revolution and the subsequent formation of a democratic republic.

Intellectual and Cultural Shifts:

The colonial time period was marked by a focus on survival, establishing settlements, and cultivating the land. Education was limited to a select few, with an emphasis on religious teachings and practical skills. In contrast, the Age of Reason fostered a surge in intellectual pursuits, scientific discoveries, and the spread of knowledge through books, newspapers, and pamphlets. This period witnessed a flourishing of ideas in areas such as philosophy, science, literature, and art.

Attitudes towards Slavery and Social Equality:

The colonial time period was marred by the institution of slavery, which played a significant role in the economy and social structure of the colonies. Slavery was widely accepted, and racial hierarchies were deeply entrenched. In contrast, the Age of Reason brought forth discussions on the rights of all individuals, challenging the morality of slavery and advocating for equality and human rights. Influential thinkers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson expressed concerns about slavery, laying the groundwork for later abolitionist movements.

Literary and Artistic Expression:

In the colonial time period, literature and art primarily served religious or practical purposes. The writings of the time were often focused on religious sermons, diaries, and historical accounts. In contrast, the Age of Reason witnessed a surge in literary and artistic expression, marked by the emergence of influential writers and philosophers like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Enlightenment ideals and rational thought heavily influenced literary works and artistic creations.

Conclusion:

The colonial time period and the Age of Reason were distinct epochs in American history, each leaving a lasting impact on the development of the nation. The colonial era was defined by religious fervor, colonial struggles, and the foundations of British rule, while the Age of Reason brought about a shift towards reason, individual rights, and scientific inquiry. Understanding the differences between these periods allows us to appreciate the evolution of American society, from its religious and colonial origins to the embrace of reason, democracy, and the pursuit of knowledge.

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Key Differences between the Colonial Time Period and the Age of Reason: Compare and Contrast Essay. (2024, April 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-differences-between-the-colonial-time-period-and-the-age-of-reason-compare-and-contrast-essay/
“Key Differences between the Colonial Time Period and the Age of Reason: Compare and Contrast Essay.” Edubirdie, 24 Apr. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/key-differences-between-the-colonial-time-period-and-the-age-of-reason-compare-and-contrast-essay/
Key Differences between the Colonial Time Period and the Age of Reason: Compare and Contrast Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-differences-between-the-colonial-time-period-and-the-age-of-reason-compare-and-contrast-essay/> [Accessed 12 Jun. 2024].
Key Differences between the Colonial Time Period and the Age of Reason: Compare and Contrast Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Apr 24 [cited 2024 Jun 12]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-differences-between-the-colonial-time-period-and-the-age-of-reason-compare-and-contrast-essay/
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