Democratic Society

Submitted By Htat Htat-Jompar
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The Influences of a Democratic Society
Amid the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, colonial America saw significant progressions. Population expanded exponentially with migrants coming in extensive numbers. It was during this period of economic expansion that colonial America experienced two major revivals that had lasting effects on the country with the regard to religion, government and human nature. The Enlightenment focused on challenging authoritarian rule, and the Great
Awakening encouraged believers to exercise individual judgment. The Enlightenment and the
Great Awakening were the major causations on the development of a democratic society in the
English colonies.
The Enlightenment initially began in Europe and it reached colonial America more than a century later. The ideas of the Enlightenment were emphasized on reason rather than the rule of authority. Advocates like John Locke expressed that government should serve the people. Locke believed that everyone had the natural rights to life, liberty, and the right to own property. These ideas eventually made their way to colonial America influencing the English colonies about freedom from the church. The colonist wanted a chance to worship freely and have the opportunity to choose which religion they wanted to take part in. In regards to this, when the first Pilgrims voyaged to the New World, with a spirit of self­government. These Pilgrims of the
Mayflower were bound for Virginia yet they got lost and instead landed at Plymouth. Since
Plymouth did not lie within the boundaries of the Virginia colony, the Pilgrims had no official charter to govern them. So they drafted the Mayflower Compact, which declared that they would rule themselves. Although Massachusetts eventually became a royal colony, the Pilgrims

at Plymouth set a compelling point of reference of making their own particular decides that later reflected itself in the town meetings that were held among them. Unlike like the Puritans who sought to reform the church, the pilgrims (separatist) wanted complete separation from the church. This shows that the pilgrims wanted religious freedom, as inspired from the
Enlightenment. For example, The “Holy Experiment" was founded by William Penn, it was an endeavor by the Quakers to establish a community for themselves in Pennsylvania. They trusted it would show to the world how well they could work all alone without any oppression or disagreement. It did not contain tax­supported Churches, pastors, or reverends. Everybody had an equal relationship to God. Another example can be reflected from Roger WIlliams. Banished for the belief of complete separation between church and state. Williams led a group to help found Rhode Island, which offered complete religious freedom. Providence (Rhode Island) was a place where people could worship freely. Many religious dissenters questioned the rule of an authoritarian government and eventually created their own democratic societies.
Much like the Enlightenment, the Great Awakening played a crucial role in the development in the English colonies. The Great Awakening essentially worked toward decentralizing the church and