How Did The Scottish Enlightenment Influence Early America

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The Scottish Enlightenment was very influential to early America in different aspects. After the American revolution there were multiple areas within the political sphere that were impacted by Scottish philosophers such as Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith. Hutcheson’s beliefs are incorporated through his pupil, Thomas Jefferson. It is evident that ‘when Jefferson wrote on fundamental questions of moral philosophy, he seems clearly to have identified his views with Hutcheson’s moral-sense doctrine.’ Additionally Hutcheson and Jefferson had similar ideas about community that it cannot be forced because then the morality of wanting to care for one another is lost. Connections have been noted between the thinking of James Madison in The Federalist …show more content…

England had a great impact on the American education system because of the establishment of schools and universities within its colonies. Additionally, Germany had influence of the development of some of the disciplines within universities. Often overlooked are the Scottish influences upon American tertiary education. Douglas Sloan prefaces his book, The Scottish Enlightenment and the American College Ideal, with ‘Scotland must take its place with England and Germany as a major influence on the development of American higher education.’ Particular universities were the leaders among institutions taking steps that would eventually become normal for all higher educational institutions: universities such as the College of New Jersey, now Princeton, and the College of Philadelphia, later renamed University of Pennsylvania. In addition to universities certain Scotsmen were the teachers and mentors of Americans that would eventually become leaders in their respective …show more content…

While in Scotland Witherspoon graduated from the University of Edinburgh, became a clergy man and eventually was considered the leader of the ‘Popular Party’ by the Church of Scotland. Witherspoon started as an enthusiastic teacher with many concerns about the status of the then college. To gain attendance and funding Witherspoon toured the colonies encouraging and persuading students to attend and adults to donate to the college. ‘As a teacher and educational reformer, he broadened and deepened the traditional curriculum, introduced new and daring philosophical ideas, enlarged and diversified the library holdings, and acquired fine apparatus for scientific studies.’ (The Monist, p. 172) As the president Witherspoon emphasized the importance of a broad education that included politics and religion. His strong support for liberty in addition to his influential administration fostered the growth of many political figures including President James Madison. (The Monist, p.

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