European influences
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European influences



the influences of primarily English law and government and Enlightenment philosophers on colonial government and society in the New World.

the influences of primarily English law and government and Enlightenment philosophers on colonial government and society in the New World.



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European influences European influences Presentation Transcript

  • Influences on the American Government Our European Heritage
  • The Magna Carta
  • The English Magna Carta (Background)For centuries, England was ruled by a monarch – a king or queen
  • However, Monarchs had very little power as part of the Feudal System
  • The real power lay with the nobles on the manor
  • The monarch gave a powerful noble class ownership and control of land in exchange for loyalty, tax payments, & military support
  • King John (1199) treated the nobles harshly & they rebelled
  • John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215
  • Magna Carta:Latin for the “Great Charter”
  • Magna Carta was written on parchment in 1350!
  • Magna Carta (the significance) • It protected noble privileges & upheld their authority • It granted rights to all landowners• Rights included equal treatment under the law and trial by one’s peers
  • It was a contract that limited themonarch’s power by guaranteeing that no one, not even the king or queen, is above the law
  • The Magna Carta helped establish the principle of Rule of Law
  • The English Parliament
  • The word Parliament comes from theFrench and means a “talk” or “parley” – a conference of any kind
  • The Model Parliament of Edward I (1295)
  • Included all classes of the kingdom: barons, higherclergy, knights, burgesses, and lower clergy
  • Initially, it was set up to advise the monarch
  • The English ParliamentBy the late 1300’s, Parliament had developed into a law-making body
  • Conflict between the Crown and Parliament
  • The Tudor monarchs cooperated well with Parliament
  • Elizabeth’s death (1603) ended Tudor rule and the Stuart dynasty takes over
  • The Stuarts were unpopular monarchs
  • James I does not get along well with Parliament
  • Charles I, James son, disbanded Parliament & ruled for 11 years without it
  • Needing money, Charles I recalled Parliament
  • Parliament made demands on Charles I and then Civil War breaks out
  • The English Civil War (1642 – 49)
  • Roundheads – supported Parliament
  • Cavaliers – supported the monarch
  • Most members of Parliament were Puritans(Protestant Christians who opposed the Church of England as too Catholic)
  • The English Civil War is also known as the Puritan Revolution
  • Parliamentary troops, led by OliverCromwell, defeated the king’s armies
  • King I Charles Stuart is put on trial for treason
  • Charles I is found guilty and is beheaded
  • The monarchy is over (for the time-being)
  • Oliver Cromwell, a very strict Puritan, took over and ruled as military dictator for ten years
  • Cromwell rules England as “Lord Protector”(Cromwell is not too popular)
  • This period of English history is known as The Protectorate (1649 – 1660)
  • After Cromwell died, his son Richard tookover and had trouble maintaining control He was forced out and II CharlesStuart, the son of Charles I, was asked to return to England to rule as a monarch
  • The Restoration (1660 – 1688)
  • Charles II took over in 1660 and themonarchy was restored (“restoration”)
  • The “Restoration” is the return of the monarchy in England (1660 – 1668)
  • Charles II cooperated pretty well with Parliament and ruled for 25 years
  • After Charles II died in 1685, JamesII, the brother of Charles II, took over the throne in 1685
  • James II immediately had clashes with Parliament
  • The Glorious Revolution (1689)
  • When James II raised his son openly as a Catholic (in violation of English law), James II was forced out in a relatively bloodless revolution (1688)
  • Parliament asked William & Mary(of the Netherlands) to come to England to rule jointly
  • But, William and Mary had to agree to the English Bill of Rights
  • The English Bill of Rights put limits on the monarch’s power and made Parliament supreme
  • The English Bill of Rights stated that themonarch could not suspend Parliament
  • It also stated that the monarch could not create special courts, impose taxes, or raise an army without Parliament’s consent
  • It also declared that members ofParliament would be freely elected and be guaranteed free speech during meetings
  • The Bill of Rights also guaranteed thatevery citizen would have the right to a fair trial by jury in court cases
  • The English Bill of Rights also banned cruel and unusual punishments
  • The English Bill of Rights established a Limited Constitutional Monarchy (what England has today)
  • The writing and signing of the English Bill of Rights in 1689 is known as the Glorious Revolution
  • Many of the English Bill of Rights have been written into the United States Constitution
  • English Common Law
  • Early on, England had no written laws except rules to live by established by tradition
  • As a system of courts arose, the courts’ decisionsbecame the basis of a body of law
  • When judges were asked to decide acase, they would look for a precedent, ora ruling in an earlier case that was similar
  • This system of judge-made law based on precedent and custom is called Common Law
  • Judges are bound by precedent
  • If a judge rules against a precedent, his decision will be overturned on appeal
  • We, too, have a system of Common law –judge-made law based upon precedent
  • We also have Statutory law –laws written by legislative bodies
  • European Absolutism (1600s)
  • Britain’s limited constitution monarchy contrasted with Absolutism on the European continent
  • Louis XIV, the king of France, embodied the greatest period of Absolutism
  • Most absolute monarchs thought theyreceived their power to rule from God
  • This is called theDivine Right theory
  • Others, like Thomas Hobbes, defendedabsolutism to avoid the state of nature
  • In an absolutist society, the ruler hasunlimited authority and is not checked by any one
  • The people are viewed as subjects with no rights
  • The monarch can do whatever he pleases In this view, the monarch is above the law
  • The Enlightenment (1700s)
  • Leading writers during the 1700s began to challenge Absolutism and the Divine Right theory of government
  • These writers were called philosophes
  • They thought that government received its power from the people
  • This idea is calledPopular Sovereignty
  • They also thought that the people have the right to revolt against unjust/tyrannical government
  • This is calledPopular Revolution
  • A new idea of government emerged – the Contract Theory or government
  • In this view of government, the people are citizens who have inalienable rights (rights that cannot be taken away)
  • In this view, the people and thegovernment enter into a contract:The people willingly empower thegovernment in return for protection of natural rights
  • What are these rights?• “Life, liberty, & property” – John Locke• “Life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson• “Liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” – The Declaration of Rights of Man & Citizen (French Revolution)
  • This is called Natural Rights theory
  • Other Enlightenment ideas
  • These writers also wrote aboutseparating power into three branches of government
  • They believed that these three branchesof government should check and balance the others
  • Our Founding Fathersread many of their works
  • John Locke: Two Treatises on Government(Natural Right theory & Popular Revolution)
  • Jean Jaque Rousseau: The Social Contract(Popular Sovereignty & Popular Revolution)
  • Baron de Montesquie: Spirit of the Laws(three branches of government / separation of powers / checks & balances)