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WTP Lessons1-3 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of American Government Characteristics of Colonies • US is independent after Treaty of Paris 1783 • Colonies are diverse, so enacting a common gov’t was not an easy task – Religions, urban/ rural, social structures, reliance on slaves, relationship w/ Native Americans – Each colony had its own written constitution and colonists were loyal to state, not National. Founding fathers were well read • Greeks and Romans: Socrates,Aristotle, Plato, Marcus Tullis Cicero’, Polybius • Enlightenment philosophers: John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, William Blackstone, Montesquieu • Protestant Theology, Judeo-Christian Thinking • VA Declaration of Ind, Declaration of Ind, Various pamphlets, essays, letters, other counties governments as examples. Some lesson they learned from the Greeks • Human beings are naturally social creatures w/ obligations to each other and their community • Those who govern must be wise – Plato • One purpose of Gov’t is to help people learn about + to perform civic and moral duties. • Democracies begin well, but tend to end in tyranny when the poor attack the rich. • Mixed gov’t is best -Aristotle Natural Rights Philosophy • People have natural rights that gov’t must respect; these rights are inalienable. • These rights can be summarized as “life, liberty, and estate” – J. Locke • People must agree to government in order to protect these rights. Popular Sovereignty. • When people feel the central gov’t is abusing power, social and political unrest will occur. Lessons all said and done • Government should be the servant, not the master of the people. • A fundamental higher law, or constitution, should limit the power of this government. So, what FORM of government to use? • Aristotle – Government must perform three functions: – Legislate- deliberate and decide on what should be done / public policy – Execute- Carry out public policy – Judicial functions- settle disputes about the interpretation of public policy. More Aristotle • Types of governments; RULE OF RIGHT CORRUPT One Monarchy Tyranny Few Aristocracy Oligarchy Many Polity (mixed constitution) ECONOMICS Middle class Democracy Money dominated by rich Polybuis and Cicero • Classical Republicanism • Mixed constitutions were a combination of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic ideals. • Republic: thing of the people • Montesquieu cites British governemnt as example of this :House of Lords and House of commons in Parliament. Page 10 • At tables: • Do “Critical thinking” and “What do you think” orally and be prepared to report back to the class. (random students will be chosen to do reporting, so everyone needs to be on their game!!!) Balance is difficult • How did Rome do so well? • Classical Republicanism- places th needs of the people as a community above individual liberty and self-determination. Citizens are taught tp promote the common good, not just work for private or selfish interests. Roman ideas con’t • Three aspects that made this possible – Small, uniform communities – Citizenship and civic virtue (Cato the Elder and Cincinnatus) – Moral education – Page 15 – “What do you think” orally – Page 16- “Cit Thinking” written Natural rights philosophy • Hobbes – people would agree to leave state of nature out of fear because it “gives rise to war”. People would leave this chaos and enter into a social contract. • Locke- in state of nature, all humans are free, rational, and equal. People enter into a social contract only to protect these inalienable rights. • Individual rights, popular sovereignty, limited government, human equality. Separation of church and state: really? • Judeo-Christian religious traditions emphasized a sense of private morality, rather than just a public morality (Civic virtue) • During age of feudalism, church was the unifying “form of gov’t” • Feudal ideas included classes, hierarchical, social relationships and social rank are permanent and inherited, rights and duties were tied to land and this social rank. Renaissance and Reformation • During renaissance the printing press was invented- giving individuals opportunity to learn different ways of thinking • Gives rise to importance of individual over common good • Reformation- leads to challenging ideals that were taken for granted. • A new emphasis on individual thought emerges and people try to free themselves for “tyranny” of feudal states and Catholic Church Economics • Another affront to Medieval feudalism is more emphasis on commercial trade – capitalism. • The means of production are privately owned and operated for profit– social classes were not inherited and fixed. • A middle class emerges • Natural rights Philo and Protestantism supported this trend. • John Calvin: Wealth is a sign of God’s grace • Page 24 – “Critical thinking” prepare a formal statement to turn in that encompasses both questions. Enlightenment • Scientific thought crashes into philosphical thinking – BANG • Francis Bacon- human power of reason and observations will eventually lead humans o control nature. – all things are possible through reason. • Hobbes, Locke, Descartes’, Galileo, Montesquieu, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton The summative assessment • 1. Create a timeline of Philosophical and social history that the founding fathers would have been aware of. • 2. Make an argument as to what philosophical thoughts / trends had the greatest impact on our form of government.