Basic ideas behindBasic ideas behind
the US Constitutionthe US Constitution
(in 37 slides)(in 37 slides)
A trip to the cafeteriaA trip to the cafeteria
The structure of the USThe structure of the US
Government is a mix ofGovern...
What did the founders chooseWhat did the founders choose
from the cafeteria?from the cafeteria?
A small helping of (1)A sm...
Part I: John Locke’sPart I: John Locke’s
Natural Law TheoriesNatural Law Theories
Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence
THOMAS JEFFERSONTHOMAS JEFFERSON::
We hold these truths to beWe hol...
Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence
That whenever any Form ofThat whenever any Form of
Government becom...
Declaration: TranslationDeclaration: Translation
We think it’s pretty obvious thatWe think it’s pretty obvious that
God cr...
Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence
When any government starts toWhen any government starts to
undermin...
Where are these ideas from?Where are these ideas from?
Ideas here reflect naturalIdeas here reflect natural
rights philoso...
Natural Law: Basic QuestionsNatural Law: Basic Questions
Locke asked these questions:Locke asked these questions:
1.1. Wha...
What is human nature?What is human nature?
People are also born with “unalienable”People are also born with “unalienable”
...
Declaration: TranslationDeclaration: Translation
Remember this?: “We hold theseRemember this?: “We hold these
truths to be...
What is human nature II?What is human nature II?
Locke believed that humanLocke believed that human
beings werebeings were...
What then is the purpose of government?What then is the purpose of government?
According to Locke,According to Locke,
gove...
How then does the government getHow then does the government get
the right to govern?the right to govern?
From a “Social c...
Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence
Review again: That to secure theseReview again: That to secure thes...
Sum of Locke:Sum of Locke:
Born with rights (life, property,
property), given by God.
People evil. . .may trample
rights.
...
Part II: The Structure of thePart II: The Structure of the
American GovernmentAmerican Government
How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized?
IDEA ONEIDEA ONE: Founders believed in: Fou...
How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized?
Constitutional government: TheConstitutiona...
How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized?
IDEA TWOIDEA TWO: Founders believed that a:...
How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized?
IDEA THREEIDEA THREE: What: What
structure ...
Option one: MonarchyOption one: Monarchy
Rule by one person (a king orRule by one person (a king or
queen).queen).
King Ge...
Option one: MonarchyOption one: Monarchy
Problem: All power in theProblem: All power in the
hands of one personhands of on...
Option two: OligarchyOption two: Oligarchy
OligarchyOligarchy is a form ofis a form of
government where politicalgovernmen...
Option three: DemocracyOption three: Democracy
Form of government in whichForm of government in which
ultimate authority w...
Option three: DemocracyOption three: Democracy
In purest form, it means governmentIn purest form, it means government
in w...
Option four: RepublicOption four: Republic
Popular in ancient history.Popular in ancient history.
Founders admired theFoun...
Option four: RepublicOption four: Republic
Founders liked this. . .a republicFounders liked this. . .a republic
couldcould...
““Classical Republicanism”Classical Republicanism”
Founders studied the examples ofFounders studied the examples of
Rome, ...
Civic VirtueCivic Virtue
Citizens mustCitizens must set aside personalset aside personal
interestsinterests to promote the...
Civic VirtueCivic Virtue
In Roman republic, want to read aIn Roman republic, want to read a
book criticizing the governmen...
Moral EducationMoral Education
Citizens were taught to beCitizens were taught to be
virtuous byvirtuous by moral education...
Small, uniform communitiesSmall, uniform communities
Small communities needed if peopleSmall communities needed if people
...
Enter James Madison. . .Enter James Madison. . .
““Father of the Constitution”Father of the Constitution”
Tackled the prob...
James Madison’s solutionJames Madison’s solution
America should have aAmerica should have a republicanrepublican
governmen...
What about “men are devils”?What about “men are devils”?
Madison believed thatMadison believed that
people were selfpeople...
What about “men are devils”?What about “men are devils”?
Realized that people could actRealized that people could act
agai...
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1 natural law and republic

  1. 1. Basic ideas behindBasic ideas behind the US Constitutionthe US Constitution (in 37 slides)(in 37 slides)
  2. 2. A trip to the cafeteriaA trip to the cafeteria The structure of the USThe structure of the US Government is a mix ofGovernment is a mix of different philosophies.different philosophies. Founders took bits of differentFounders took bits of different ideas, structures ofideas, structures of government and created agovernment and created a new form of government,new form of government, never seen before.never seen before. Not unlike going through aNot unlike going through a line in a cafeteria. . .line in a cafeteria. . .
  3. 3. What did the founders chooseWhat did the founders choose from the cafeteria?from the cafeteria? A small helping of (1)A small helping of (1) John Locke’s “naturalJohn Locke’s “natural law”law” philosophy (including his ideas aboutphilosophy (including his ideas about rights, the reasons for government, the nature ofrights, the reasons for government, the nature of human beings, and where government comeshuman beings, and where government comes from).from). A bit of (2)A bit of (2) democracydemocracy.. A side order of (3)A side order of (3) republicanismrepublicanism (but not too(but not too much).much). With a dash of (4)With a dash of (4) mistrust of governmentmistrust of government powerpower..
  4. 4. Part I: John Locke’sPart I: John Locke’s Natural Law TheoriesNatural Law Theories
  5. 5. Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence THOMAS JEFFERSONTHOMAS JEFFERSON:: We hold these truths to beWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men areself-evident, that all men are created equal, that they arecreated equal, that they are endowed by their Creatorendowed by their Creator with certain unalienablewith certain unalienable Rights, that among these areRights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit ofLife, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secureHappiness. --That to secure these rights, Governmentsthese rights, Governments are instituted among Men,are instituted among Men, deriving their just powersderiving their just powers from the consent of thefrom the consent of the governed, --governed, --
  6. 6. Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence That whenever any Form ofThat whenever any Form of Government becomesGovernment becomes destructive of these ends, it isdestructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alterthe Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to instituteor to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying itsnew Government, laying its foundation on such principlesfoundation on such principles and organizing its powers inand organizing its powers in such form, as to them shallsuch form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect theirseem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.Safety and Happiness.
  7. 7. Declaration: TranslationDeclaration: Translation We think it’s pretty obvious thatWe think it’s pretty obvious that God created every person equal,God created every person equal, and he gave each person specificand he gave each person specific unchanging rights which shouldunchanging rights which should never be trampled upon. Thesenever be trampled upon. These include the right of the people toinclude the right of the people to live life in freedom (without unduelive life in freedom (without undue harm), and pursue their dreamsharm), and pursue their dreams and goals. The very reason weand goals. The very reason we havehave man-made governments is toman-made governments is to protectprotect these rights,these rights, notnot to interfereto interfere with them. Furthermore, whateverwith them. Furthermore, whatever power and authority governmentspower and authority governments have are given by the people’shave are given by the people’s permission and limited to theirpermission and limited to their protection.protection.
  8. 8. Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence When any government starts toWhen any government starts to undermine the very purpose ofundermine the very purpose of protecting the life, freedoms, andprotecting the life, freedoms, and happiness of the people, then theyhappiness of the people, then they have the right change thehave the right change the government or, yes, even to pullgovernment or, yes, even to pull the plug on the government ifthe plug on the government if things get too bad. The peoplethings get too bad. The people have the right to set up a newer,have the right to set up a newer, better government based andbetter government based and organized on tried and true rulesorganized on tried and true rules that protect, rather than threaten,that protect, rather than threaten, their safety and happiness.their safety and happiness.
  9. 9. Where are these ideas from?Where are these ideas from? Ideas here reflect naturalIdeas here reflect natural rights philosophy, developedrights philosophy, developed and refined by the Englishand refined by the English philosopherphilosopher John LockeJohn Locke (1632-1704).(1632-1704). ““Two Treatises onTwo Treatises on Government” (1689)Government” (1689) Jefferson hugely influencedJefferson hugely influenced by this.by this. Based on imagining what lifeBased on imagining what life would be like if there were nowould be like if there were no government:government: human naturehuman nature..
  10. 10. Natural Law: Basic QuestionsNatural Law: Basic Questions Locke asked these questions:Locke asked these questions: 1.1. What is human nature?What is human nature? 2.2. What is the purpose ofWhat is the purpose of government?government? 3.3. How do the people running aHow do the people running a government get the right togovernment get the right to govern?govern?
  11. 11. What is human nature?What is human nature? People are also born with “unalienable”People are also born with “unalienable” natural rightsnatural rights, given to all by God,, given to all by God, regardless of class, race, groups, etc.regardless of class, race, groups, etc. 1.1. LifeLife 2.2. LibertyLiberty 3.3. PropertyProperty Locke here had a radical idea; rightsLocke here had a radical idea; rights used to be very selective, and onlyused to be very selective, and only applied to special classes, groups,applied to special classes, groups, nations of people.nations of people. Locke believed that this was wrong:Locke believed that this was wrong: rights were given to all based on therights were given to all based on the fact that they were human beings.fact that they were human beings.
  12. 12. Declaration: TranslationDeclaration: Translation Remember this?: “We hold theseRemember this?: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that alltruths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that theymen are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator withare endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, thatcertain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty andamong these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”the pursuit of Happiness.” PS: Why “happiness” and notPS: Why “happiness” and not “property”?“property”? Ben Franklin: If it were property,Ben Franklin: If it were property, men would argue they could not bemen would argue they could not be taxed; changed it to “happiness.”taxed; changed it to “happiness.”
  13. 13. What is human nature II?What is human nature II? Locke believed that humanLocke believed that human beings werebeings were reasonable andreasonable and sociable, but also self-sociable, but also self- interested (interested (LIKE DEVILSLIKE DEVILS).). The strong, cunning would tryThe strong, cunning would try to take the life, liberty orto take the life, liberty or property of others away (likeproperty of others away (like that kid on the bus who brokethat kid on the bus who broke my lunchbox).my lunchbox). My mother in law: “You makeMy mother in law: “You make your own…”your own…” With no law, no government,With no law, no government, rights would be very insecure.rights would be very insecure. Needed to protect rightsNeeded to protect rights..
  14. 14. What then is the purpose of government?What then is the purpose of government? According to Locke,According to Locke, governments help thegovernments help the people form anpeople form an understanding of theunderstanding of the natural rightsnatural rights of all.of all. It then mustIt then must protect theprotect the rightsrights of the people.of the people.
  15. 15. How then does the government getHow then does the government get the right to govern?the right to govern? From a “Social contract”:From a “Social contract”: People bind together and agree to createPeople bind together and agree to create government to protect rights of all.government to protect rights of all. Contracts: Get something, give something.Contracts: Get something, give something. Here, get security (EX: Safe roads).Here, get security (EX: Safe roads). Give: Obey the limits placed on you by lawGive: Obey the limits placed on you by law (EX: Can’t speed, stop at red lights, etc.)(EX: Can’t speed, stop at red lights, etc.) Consent: (1) agreeing to the contract; (2)Consent: (1) agreeing to the contract; (2) joining a society; (3) accepting laws andjoining a society; (3) accepting laws and services of nation of birth.services of nation of birth. Have the right too to take away the powerHave the right too to take away the power of the government:of the government: right to revolutionright to revolution..
  16. 16. Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence Review again: That to secure theseReview again: That to secure these rights,rights, Governments are institutedGovernments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powersamong Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedfrom the consent of the governed,, --That whenever any Form of--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive ofGovernment becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Peoplethese ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or toto alter or to abolish itabolish it, and to institute, and to institute new Government, laying its foundationnew Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing itson such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shallpowers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safetyseem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.and Happiness.
  17. 17. Sum of Locke:Sum of Locke: Born with rights (life, property, property), given by God. People evil. . .may trample rights. Govt. job? Protect rights. Get power from people’s consent. Don’t do their job? Throw them out (revolution). EXAMPLE: Egypt right now…
  18. 18. Part II: The Structure of thePart II: The Structure of the American GovernmentAmerican Government
  19. 19. How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized? IDEA ONEIDEA ONE: Founders believed in: Founders believed in forming a “constitutional government.”forming a “constitutional government.” What is aWhat is a constitutionconstitution? A set of? A set of customs, traditions, rules and laws thatcustoms, traditions, rules and laws that sets forth the basic way the governmentsets forth the basic way the government is organized and operated.is organized and operated. A constitutionA constitution limits the powers of thelimits the powers of the governmentgovernment so they too are restrainedso they too are restrained from taking people’s rights.from taking people’s rights. Constitutional government: powers ofConstitutional government: powers of the group controlling the government arethe group controlling the government are limitedlimited by a set of laws and customsby a set of laws and customs called a constitution.called a constitution.
  20. 20. How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized? Constitutional government: TheConstitutional government: The law, the constitution is morelaw, the constitution is more important than anyone,important than anyone, anything else.anything else. A nonconstitutionalA nonconstitutional government? Dictatorship,government? Dictatorship, monarchy. A person is mostmonarchy. A person is most important.important. Problem with these?Problem with these? Unpredictable, subject to thatUnpredictable, subject to that person’s whims, decisions.person’s whims, decisions.
  21. 21. How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized? IDEA TWOIDEA TWO: Founders believed that a: Founders believed that a government should begovernment should be structuredstructured so itso it doesn’t end up abusing people’sdoesn’t end up abusing people’s rights, taking too much power.rights, taking too much power. (1) Make the government share the(1) Make the government share the power (power (separation of powersseparation of powers) (from) (from MontesqieuMontesqieu, French political thinker, French political thinker (rt.).(rt.). (2) Allow them to check one another(2) Allow them to check one another so no one gets too powerfulso no one gets too powerful ((systems of checks and balancessystems of checks and balances).). EXAMPLEEXAMPLE: IL Budget. . .governor v.: IL Budget. . .governor v. general assembly.general assembly. Conceal/carry lawConceal/carry law..
  22. 22. How should the government be organized?How should the government be organized? IDEA THREEIDEA THREE: What: What structure should thisstructure should this new government have?new government have? Options: Monarchy,Options: Monarchy, Oligarchy, Republic,Oligarchy, Republic, DemocracyDemocracy
  23. 23. Option one: MonarchyOption one: Monarchy Rule by one person (a king orRule by one person (a king or queen).queen). King George III (rt.) was King ofKing George III (rt.) was King of England at time of revolution.England at time of revolution. Most common form of governmentMost common form of government at the time.at the time. Americans were used to this, butAmericans were used to this, but then again, they had problems withthen again, they had problems with it. . .it. . .
  24. 24. Option one: MonarchyOption one: Monarchy Problem: All power in theProblem: All power in the hands of one personhands of one person. Can. Can abuse that power if notabuse that power if not checked.checked. Founders were skeptical ofFounders were skeptical of power in the hands of one b/cpower in the hands of one b/c of their experiences withof their experiences with Britain.Britain. Washington encouraged to beWashington encouraged to be king. USA like a baby yak (rt).king. USA like a baby yak (rt). Threats from Spanish, BritishThreats from Spanish, British still viable. Said no.still viable. Said no.
  25. 25. Option two: OligarchyOption two: Oligarchy OligarchyOligarchy is a form ofis a form of government where politicalgovernment where political power effectively rests withpower effectively rests with a small elite segment ofa small elite segment of society (whethersociety (whether distinguished by wealth,distinguished by wealth, family, or military powers).family, or military powers). The wordThe word oligarchyoligarchy isis translated into "rule bytranslated into "rule by few.”few.” Again, Fathers wereAgain, Fathers were concerned that thisconcerned that this couldcould lead to abuselead to abuse..
  26. 26. Option three: DemocracyOption three: Democracy Form of government in whichForm of government in which ultimate authority was based onultimate authority was based on the will of the majority.the will of the majority. Majority: Classes in theMajority: Classes in the community that had the mostcommunity that had the most people.people. ““Demo” means people. “Cracy”Demo” means people. “Cracy” means rule.means rule.
  27. 27. Option three: DemocracyOption three: Democracy In purest form, it means governmentIn purest form, it means government in which members participatedin which members participated directly in their own governancedirectly in their own governance instead of through representatives.instead of through representatives. ExampleExample: Expand Rte. 47? Town: Expand Rte. 47? Town meeting (rt). Decide there, all vote.meeting (rt). Decide there, all vote. Concern:Concern: Rights of people could beRights of people could be takentaken if the majority decides. Massesif the majority decides. Masses could be wrong. Schooling forcould be wrong. Schooling for African-Americans in MS in 1940?African-Americans in MS in 1940? No.No. Concern 2: This stuff can beConcern 2: This stuff can be complicatedcomplicated. . .don’t you want experts. . .don’t you want experts making these decisions?making these decisions?
  28. 28. Option four: RepublicOption four: Republic Popular in ancient history.Popular in ancient history. Founders admired theFounders admired the republics of Rome, Greece.republics of Rome, Greece. Devoted to the public good.Devoted to the public good. “Res publicae,” Latin for“Res publicae,” Latin for “thing of the people.”“thing of the people.” Political authority was sharedPolitical authority was shared by all or most of the citizensby all or most of the citizens rather than a monarch.rather than a monarch. Authority exercised byAuthority exercised by community’s chosencommunity’s chosen representativesrepresentatives..
  29. 29. Option four: RepublicOption four: Republic Founders liked this. . .a republicFounders liked this. . .a republic couldcould protect the minorityprotect the minority better.better. Not “rule by the mobNot “rule by the mob.” People.” People sometimes use passion instead ofsometimes use passion instead of expertise.expertise. Plus, with the size of the USAPlus, with the size of the USA (which back then wasn’t anything(which back then wasn’t anything compared to now), would be easiercompared to now), would be easier to decide national issues.to decide national issues. ModelModel for a republic: Ancient Rome.for a republic: Ancient Rome.
  30. 30. ““Classical Republicanism”Classical Republicanism” Founders studied the examples ofFounders studied the examples of Rome, and their governmentRome, and their government (“classical republicanism”).(“classical republicanism”). Romans believed that the best kind ofRomans believed that the best kind of society is one that promotessociety is one that promotes thethe common goodcommon good instead of theinstead of the interests of only one class of citizens.interests of only one class of citizens. Society here shared threeSociety here shared three characteristics: (1) Civic Virtue; (2)characteristics: (1) Civic Virtue; (2) Moral Education; (3) Small, uniformMoral Education; (3) Small, uniform communities.communities.
  31. 31. Civic VirtueCivic Virtue Citizens mustCitizens must set aside personalset aside personal interestsinterests to promote the commonto promote the common good; people like parts of agood; people like parts of a machine.machine. All citizens had to participate inAll citizens had to participate in government.government. DrasticallyDrastically limited individuallimited individual rightsrights: no privacy, freedom of: no privacy, freedom of conscience or religion, speech orconscience or religion, speech or expression (kind of like theexpression (kind of like the Smurfs, below).Smurfs, below).
  32. 32. Civic VirtueCivic Virtue In Roman republic, want to read aIn Roman republic, want to read a book criticizing the government?book criticizing the government? (No) No dissent.(No) No dissent. Convert to Buddhism? (No) Want allConvert to Buddhism? (No) Want all thinking the same.thinking the same. Own a business and get rich? (No)Own a business and get rich? (No) People would resent you.People would resent you. Personal liberty not as important asPersonal liberty not as important as the well-being of allthe well-being of all.. Didn’t jive too well withDidn’t jive too well with Locke’sLocke’s ideas (life, liberty, property).ideas (life, liberty, property).
  33. 33. Moral EducationMoral Education Citizens were taught to beCitizens were taught to be virtuous byvirtuous by moral educationmoral education based on a civic religion.based on a civic religion. Young people had to be raisedYoung people had to be raised in a manner that develops thein a manner that develops the right habits.right habits. Practice virtues such asPractice virtues such as courage, generosity, self control,courage, generosity, self control, fairness.fairness.
  34. 34. Small, uniform communitiesSmall, uniform communities Small communities needed if peopleSmall communities needed if people are to know and care for each otherare to know and care for each other and their common good.and their common good. People must bePeople must be very much alikevery much alike asas well. Great degree of diversity shouldwell. Great degree of diversity should not be tolerated. Wealth, religious,not be tolerated. Wealth, religious, moral beliefs. . .all similar.moral beliefs. . .all similar. If not, they will develop “If not, they will develop “factionsfactions”” (what if some Santas wore blue?(what if some Santas wore blue? Shaved their beards?)Shaved their beards?) Working forWorking for their own goodtheir own good, not the, not the common good.common good. Again, problem with the whole idea ofAgain, problem with the whole idea of “life, liberty, and property” from Locke.“life, liberty, and property” from Locke.
  35. 35. Enter James Madison. . .Enter James Madison. . . ““Father of the Constitution”Father of the Constitution” Tackled the problem ofTackled the problem of modernizing the ideas of classicmodernizing the ideas of classic republicanism and integrating therepublicanism and integrating the ideas of John Locke.ideas of John Locke. Madison is the guy with theMadison is the guy with the cafeteria tray…cafeteria tray…
  36. 36. James Madison’s solutionJames Madison’s solution America should have aAmerica should have a republicanrepublican government.government. Laws would be made and administeredLaws would be made and administered by representativesby representatives elected by the peopleelected by the people (bit of democracy, republicanism,(bit of democracy, republicanism, Locke).Locke). Government here is a democracy in thatGovernment here is a democracy in that it derived its authority from the people asit derived its authority from the people as a whole (Locke).a whole (Locke). New form of government here. . .little bitNew form of government here. . .little bit of democracy, little bit of republic:of democracy, little bit of republic: representative democracyrepresentative democracy..
  37. 37. What about “men are devils”?What about “men are devils”? Madison believed thatMadison believed that people were selfpeople were self interested (like Locke).interested (like Locke). Believed though that theBelieved though that the pursuit of self interestpursuit of self interest could in its own waycould in its own way further the common good.further the common good. EX: Statesman’s desireEX: Statesman’s desire for fame would lead himfor fame would lead him to be good.to be good.
  38. 38. What about “men are devils”?What about “men are devils”? Realized that people could actRealized that people could act against the interests of theagainst the interests of the whole. . . “if men were angels,whole. . . “if men were angels, there would be no need forthere would be no need for government.”government.” Argued for government thatArgued for government that encouraged people to act forencouraged people to act for the common good. . .but just inthe common good. . .but just in case, he wanted a governmentcase, he wanted a government that had (1) a separation ofthat had (1) a separation of powers and (2) a system ofpowers and (2) a system of checks and balances.checks and balances.

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