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The Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment is the first reference work on this key subject in early American history. With over 500 original essays on key American Enlightenment figures, it provides a comprehensive account to complement the intense scholarly activity that has centered on the European Enlightenment recently. There are substantial and original essays on the major American Enlightenment figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, David Rittenhouse, Benjamin Rush, Jonathan Edwards, and many others. The collection is wide-ranging and includes many topical essays and entries on dozens of often-overlooked secondary figures, offering a fresh definition of the Enlightenment in America. It has long been kwn that Americans made their own contributions to the Enlightenment, most tably by putting Enlightenment ideas to work in defining the American Revolution, the United States Constitution, and the nature of the early American Republic. These volumes show that the American Enlightenment was more far reaching than even that story assumes. This remarkable work shows that the American Enlightenment constitutes the central framework for understanding the development of American history between c. 1740 and c. 1820.
Mark G. Spencer is Associate Professor of History at Brock University and has published widely in the fields relating to American Enlightenment.