Poli Sci Notes - The Origins of the US Constitution Lecture...

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The Origins of the US Constitution – Lecture 2 Political Ideas of the American Founding Three Traditions of American Political Thought: 1. Natural Rights 2. Classical Republicanism 3. English/Whig Constitutionalism- no longer bound by the parliament but ultimately we are English and it is our English that has shaped the constitution Natural Rights/Social Contract Philosophy Key Features: Political Philosophers: Thomas Hobbes and John Locke (Second Law of Justice) “State of Nature” – you begin here for the constitution and it is what life would be like with out society or law, equal rights to survive and to protect ourselves, no ruler set above us but it is a pretty rough and miserable conditions of fear Natural Rights- part of nature and by nature there is a set of rights we process and is the right of self preservation (Hobbes) The Social Contract - equal in power and what drives us into civil society is fear and designs to be free and drives us into association. Agreement of us to not validate each other’s rights. Consequences help us keep the contract sound. Under this view there is very clearly and by nature a purpose for society in government. (Life, Liberty, and Property) Aka security of our individual interest. Purpose of Society and Government: Security of Individual Interest Classical Republicanism Key Features: Aristotle: “A human being is by nature a political animal” – rejected out right Elevation of Citizenship an Political Participation Subordination of private/individual interest to the common good of the political community. Purpose of Political Community: Moral Education
Whig/British Common Law Tradition This view rejects all philosophy where human rights come from and says that theorizing about human nature is silly. Key features: History/Tradition Provides Moral Standards Unwritten Constitution/Common Law Tradition Parliamentary Sovereignty “The Rights of Englishmen” Pre-Revolutionary America Pre-1750’s: Colonial Independence 1756-1763:French and Indian War The Sugar Act of 1764 The Stamp Act of 1765 1763-1776: British Administrative Control and Abuses Quartering of Troops “Writs of Assistance” Pre-Revolutionary America Pre-Revolutionary American arguments against British control: Unconstitutional Acts of Parliament/Violations of the Rights of Englishmen by British Government Need for local administration and governance Lecture 3 Declaration of Independence Conservative Revolution Directed at the king only not parliament that he has gone outside of the right of the Englishmen Rights of Englishmen Natural Rights Revolution (?) (Must stronger and makes more sense) Natural Rights of Human Beings The preamble does matter- number 1: right to revolution George Washington owned slavery The Small Republic Argument

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