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Philosophical Framework of American Government


Philosophical Framework of American Government. Political philosopher's that ... by this breach of trust they forfeit the power [of] the people...who have ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Philosophical Framework of American Government

Philosophical Framework of American Government
  • Political philosophers that impacted the
    Framers of the Constitution.

Classical Republicanism
  • Originating inspired by the government forms
    and writing of classical antiquity.
  • Renaissance (14th-17th century)
  • Aristotle, Machiavelli
  • Rule of the People rejected monarchy
  • Civic Virtue cultivation of habits of personal
    living that are claimed to be important for the
    success of the community.

Why Classical Republicanism as a Model?
  • Goals were for the common good
  • Promote civic virtue (public spiritedness)
  • Moral education (this class)
  • Small communities
  • Would only work in small populations with no

Natural Rights v. Classical Republicanism
  • Natural Rights
  • Stressed the rights of the individual of life,
    liberty and property
  • Right to individuality
  • Right to believe
  • Classical Republicanism
  • Stressed promoting the common good above the
    rights of individuals.
  • Need for conformity
  • Uniform religion

Natural Rights Philosophy
  • Includes the works of
  • John Locke
  • Thomas Hobbes
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Includes concepts of
  • Natural rights of man
  • Nature of citizen
  • Good v. evil
  • State of Nature
  • Role of Government
  • Civic virtue
  • Social Contract

Who is John Locke?
  • 1632-1704 in England
  • Father served in English Civil War
  • Educated Masters degree
  • Political Beliefs Liberal
  • Whigs
  • Experiences
  • Enlightenment
  • Glorious Revolution
  • Accomplishments
  • Second Treatise on Government.
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  • Fundamental Constitution of the Carolinas

Lockes Influence
  • Political philosophy later influenced
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Framers of Constitution
  • Revolutionary ideas impacted
  • American Revolution
  • French Revolution

Lockes Political Thinking
  • Government must be accountable to the people.
  • Purpose of government is to preserve natural
  • A government must consist of institutions and the
    legally prescribed process for making and
    enforcing collective agreements.
  • An absolute monarchy is inconsistent with the
    purpose of government.
  • When government misuses power authority, the
    people have the right to revolt.

Second Treatise On Government
  • Written in 1689.
  • Why was it written?
  • To defend the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
  • Supported a limited monarchy.
  • Supported English Bill of Rights.
  • To counter thinking of Thomas Hobbes.
  • Human nature is good and reasonable, but may be
    driven by self-interest.

A key to John Locke
  • Inalienable Rights rights that cannot be taken
    away from anyone (free speech)
  • Equality The belief that all persons, regardless
    of race, sex, ethnicity, age, etc. have the same
    rights as everyone else.
  • Questions to consider
  • What is happening in this painting?
  • How does this painting relate to the concept of
    inalienable rights? Equality?

The state of nature has a law of nature to
govern it, which treats everyone equallyBeing
equal and independent, no one ought to harm
another in his life, health, or
possessions. -John Locke
A Key to John Locke
  • Limited Government A government that does not
    have absolute authority.
  • Consent of the Governed The political theory
    that governments gain their authority from the
    people. A government is not legitimate if the
    people do not give their consent.

Whensoeverthe government shallput into the
hands of any other an absolute power over the
lives, liberty, and estates of the people, by
this breach of trust they forfeit the power of
the peoplewho have a right to resume their
original liberty, and by the establishment of the
new government provide for their own safety and
security. -John Locke
  • Question to Consider
  • What is happening in this picture and how does it
    relate to the topic of limited government?

Key to John Locke
  • State of Nature a state of perfect freedom where
    people do as they see fit within the bounds of
    the law of nature. (Problem is self-interest
    causes conflict!)
  • Law of Nature a state of equality, where people
    have the same advantages, use of same authority
    in which the rights of men are not invaded by
    others. (utopia)
  • And that all men may be restrained from
    invading others rights, and from doing hurt to
    one another, and the law of nature be observed,
    which willeth the peace preservation of all
    mankind, the execution of the law of nature is in
    that state put in every mans hands
  • -John Locke

A Key to John Locke
  • Social Contract An agreement among men to create
    and live under government give that government
    the power to make enforce laws.
  • Government only exists when people choose to
    resign their state of nature and create it.
  • Government gets its power authority from the
  • he authorizes the society, or which is all
    one, the legislative thereof, to make laws for
    him, as the public good of the society shall
    requireand puts men out of a state of nature
    into that of a common-wealth, by setting up a
    judge on earth, with authority to determine all
    the controversies, and redress the injuries that
    may happen
  • John Locke
  • Questions to consider
  • How does this photo communicate Lockes belief
    about human nature?
  • In regards to the government of Iraq, if there is
    a social contract between the citizens and the
    government, why is there still conflict?

Who is Thomas Hobbes?
  • 1588-1679, England.
  • Lived in Paris off on.
  • Educated Received degree in 1608.
  • Experiences
  • English Civil War
  • Accomplishments
  • modern founder of the social contract tradition
  • In 1651, wrote most famous work, Leviathan.

Hobbes Saving us from ourselves.
  • From this view of human nature, what kind o
    government is best?
  • Do you agree with Hobbes?
  • Human Nature humans are basically selfish
    creatures who would do anything o better their
  • For the laws of nature (as justice, equality,
    modesty, mercy, and in sum doing to others as we
    would have done to) of themselves, without terror
    of some power, to cause them to be observed, are
    contrary to our natural passions, that carry us
    to partiality, pride, revenge, and the like
  • Hobbes

Hobbes Saving Us From Ourselves
  • State of nature is the philosophy regarding how
    humans would act in their most basic state
    without a civil government. Hobbes believed the
    state of nature in which man lived before the
    formation of society was founded on a savage
    selfishness, which drove man to obtain pleasure
    without concern for justice or mercy toward other
  • Questions to consider
  • What event in history in does this image portray?
  • Do you believe that this picture represents a
    state of nature? Why or why not?
  • Hurricane Katrina victims experienced riots and
    looting (among other crimes).

Hobbes Saving Us From Ourselves
  • State of war Hobbes believed that in the state
    of nature, people were always at war with one
    another, a war of all against all. Each
    individual was endowed with the right to do
    anything they pleased and people were in constant
    fear for their lives.
  • There are three causes of war
  • Competition (violence)
  • Self-defense (safety)
  • Glory (reputation)
  • Hereby it is manifest that during the time men
    live without a common power to keep them all in
    awe, they are in that condition which is called
    war and such a war as is every man against man
  • Hobbes
  • Questions to consider
  • What is the conflict represented in this picture?
  • Does this event represent a state of war?

Hobbes Saving Us From Ourselves
  • Social Contract Hobbes believed people seek
    collective action in search of peace and
  • Role of Government Hobbes stated that
    government should be designed to protect and
    defend its citizens from invasion and war.
  • Requires trust in govt.
  • Sovereignty Hobbes believed that government must
    have use of so much power and strength conferred
    on him that , by terror thereof, he is enabled to
    form the wills of them all, to peace at home, and
    mutual aid against their enemies abroad.
  • Hobbes

Who is Jean-Jacques Rousseau?
  • 1712-1778 (Geneva)
  • Education
  • Self-taught
  • Experiences
  • Secretary to French Ambassador in Venice
  • Notable Ideas
  • Natural goodness of humanity
  • General Will

A Key to Rousseau
  • Human Nature believed that man was neither good
    nor bad self-sufficient.
  • The demise of man was society.
  • Knowledge increases the power of government
    crushes individual liberty.

A Key to Rousseau
  • Social Contract the idea that people join
    groups, and these groups make a presence known as
    a society. A social contract is the compact that
    the people agree form rules and conditions for
    membership in their society.
  • Equality the belief that all persons are
    entitled to equal rights and treatment before the
  • Private property division of labor causes
  • Inequality causes conflict.
  • Questions to Consider
  • What is the picture describing in regards to

A Key to Rousseau
  • Civil Society occurs after people leave the
    state of nature. Signs of this transfer are
    people act on rules of justice rather than on
    instinct, physical impulse is replaced by the
    voice of duty, and people consult reason rather
    than inclinations. By entering civil society
    people gain civil liberty and the legal right of
    property in what he possess. They also gain
    moral freedom, making people masters of
  • An armed policeman guards a truck loaded with
    fuel from potential looters in New Orleans
    (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

A Key to Rousseau
  • General Will the desire or interest of a people
    as a whole. Decisions are made community of
    citizens unanimously when attempting to discern
    the common good.
  • Popular sovereignty
  • Rejected representative government.
  • Strongly believed that people must play an active
    role in government for it to be successful.

Baron de Montesquieu
  • 1689-1755
  • Education
  • Catholic College of Juilly
  • Experience
  • Glorious Revolution
  • Wealthy Family
  • Notable Ideas
  • Separation of Powers
  • Checks Balances

Baron De Montesquieu
  • Advocated a divided and balanced power of
  • Believed that the best government was one that
    was elected by the people.
  • Did not believe in equality.

British Influences on the US Constitution
  • Magna Carta (1215) was a contract forced on King
  • Major step toward growth of English
    constitutional government.
  • The tenets include
  • Govt. based on rule of law.
  • Based on social contract between ruler
  • Limited power of ruler.

The English Bill of Rights
  • Result of The Glorious Revolution in 1688.
  • Further limited the power of government.
  • The tenents include
  • Rule of law
  • Natural Rights
  • Free speech, right to bear arms, no excessive
  • Parliamentary supremacy
  • People elect officials into office.
  • Limited Power of Monarch.
  • Government by contract and consent

Now to America .
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • The first governing document of Plymouth Colony.
  • It was drafted by the Pilgrims who were seeking
    religious freedom.
  • Covenant social charter to create an assembly
    to make decisions.
  • Return to nature in Lockes theory.

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
  • Created 1735 as first real US Constitution
  • Fundamental rights
  • Rule of law
  • Separation of powers
  • Executive branch (governor)
  • Legislative branch
  • Judicial branch (magistrates)

Example of Checks and Balances in Connecticut
  • Governor appointed by king, but couldnt collect
    taxes w/o consent of legislature, or imprison w/o
    trial by a magistrate, or set salary for
  • Legislature relied on governor to enforce laws
    they passed or the veto power on the governor.
  • Judges appointed by governor/ could be removed by

So Where Did We Differ From England?
  • SUFFRAGE the right to vote.
  • Any MAN who owned 50 acres could vote.
  • Did NOT include slaves, Native Americans or women.