Foundations of American Government Sea travel expanded the horizons of many European nations and created prosperity and the conditions for the Enlightenment. In turn, the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, and justice helped to create the conditions for the American Revolution and the subsequent Constitution. Democracy was not created in a heartbeat. In a world where people were ruled by monarchs from above, the idea of self-government is entirely alien.
Rousseau As Paul Krugman recently put it, the essence of our current political conflict is a struggle between democracy and plutocracy. That is what the discussion of inequality is all about. What is notably lacking in these discussions is the role of equality in our basic political philosophy.
Equality is fundamental to the political philosophy outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the document which created the United States of America—the nation, not the government. That philosophy was unquestioned in and was in fact the only useable philosophy available in when the Constitution was drafted, creating our government.
There is no hereditary right to rule. There is no natural social or political hierarchy. Richard Rumbold, a Cromwellian soldier executed for treason in From the moment of birth, the central fact of human experience is the myriad inequalities among people—physical, intellectual, psychological, moral, political, economic—starting with the inequality between parent and child.
Political equality in itself posits no institutional form, no guidelines for legitimate sovereignty, no foundation for government.
As a general proposition, political equality raises the specter articulated by Thomas Hobbes: By itself the idea of political equality leaves us free to construct whatever political philosophy we want. At one extreme, lovers of peace hold up anarchy— not the bomb-throwing type but utopian anarchy, the belief that equal people can cooperate in a classless society and make governmental structures unnecessary.
At the other extreme, are those who think that might makes right—the claim of William the Conqueror to all of England, or the claims of European nations to vast portions of the non-European world, the claims made by Americans in the s to as much of North America as they could grab, the actions of Putinesque strongmen.
Equality of birth is the foundational value, but it cannot provide direction to efforts to create a just government. Such direction can come only from a commitment to further ideas.
They are equally possessed by each individual.
They precede government, so they are not created by government and therefore can be asserted by individuals against government. It is the simplest and clearest statement we have of the American philosophy regarding the function of government: Jefferson then inserted a crucial requirement: Legitimate political sovereignty is initially dispersed among all of the people as their equal heritage at birth.
After political power has been granted, the government so created must use that power to secure the equal rights of all. The ultimate consequence of the assertion of human political equality is the right to revolution.
Has the lofty philosophy of the Declaration of Independence any lasting relevance to American politics? The short answer is a resounding YES. The ideas set forth in the Declaration—not because they were set forth in the Declaration but because they were almost universally held—shaped American government.
The Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration of Independence went on to form a new government for the nation it had created. Cobbled together during the course of the Revolutionary War, the Articles of Confederation was not formally ratified until Slow in coming, it reflected widespread fear of a strong central government.
It created almost no institutional structure of governance, and it provided no reliable source of revenue to fund the activities of government—not enough even to properly service the debt incurred fighting the war.
After the war ended officially inthe new states squabbled among themselves, and the economy was a shambles. The nation was short on gold and, because it lacked a meaningful central government, it was difficult to obtain credit, fair trade privileges, or even minimal respect from other nations.
By the government created by the Articles had manifestly failed. It had become destructive of the basic ends of government. It did not and could not secure the rights of Americans.
And so, as the Declaration said they could, men began to discuss altering the government and went on to abolish it and institute a new government under the Constitution of The Articles of Confederation had created a confederation of states, one that derived its powers from the various state legislatures rather than from the sovereign people.Equality and The Fourteenth Amendment: A New Constitution.
In the wake of the Civil War, three amendments were added to the U.S. Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery ( ap gov ch 2.
PLAY. Which of these is TRUE about the United States Constitution? At the top of the political agenda during the period of the Articles of Confederation was.
The view of human nature most prevalent among the Founding Fathers was that. Prior political experience. Several of the Founding Fathers had extensive national, state, local and foreign political experience prior to the adoption of the Constitution in Some had been diplomats.
Several had been members of the Continental Congress or elected President of that body. US Constitutional History: Sex Discrimination.
Search the site GO. History & Culture. Women's History The United States Constitution did not mention women or limit any of its rights or privileges to males. women's rights advocates began working to establish legal and political equality for women in some of the states. Property rights of.
In turn, the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, and justice helped to create the conditions for the American Revolution and the subsequent Constitution. Democracy was not created in a heartbeat. Equality and The Fourteenth Amendment: A New Constitution. In the wake of the Civil War, three amendments were added to the U.S.
Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery .