lecture4 - 1 LECTURE NOTES UCLA Department of Political...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 LECTURE NOTES UCLA Department of Political Science Fall 2007 PS 40 Introduction to American Politics Prof. Thomas Schwartz Hunk 4 Background of U.S. Constitution The Founders baggage , or set of experiences, comes in 4 parts: British history, intellectual resources (principles), early American history, and problems of federation. Let us consider these in turn. 1. 17 th Century England . A Civil War toppled King Charles I, along with his head, and established a republic, called the Commonwealth, under Oliver Cromwell. When he died, Parliament restored the monarchy under Charles II. The Glorious Revolution then kicked out Charless successor, James II, made William and Mary co-monarchs, and in effect established parliamentary sovereignty. Whigs vs. Tories . In the Civil War, Roundheads (Cromwell supporters) were pitted against Cavaliers (monarchy supporters). The Roundheads became Whigs ; the Cavaliers, Tories . Whigs sought representative government; Lockes Second Treatise on Government was their manifesto; I guess that makes Locke a big Whig. Tories believed in the divine right of kings; Hobbes had argued in effect for the unchecked power of a king or other sovereign separate from and not beholden to his subjects. The Whigs got their way in the Glorious Revolution. The US Founders were basically Whigs. 2 2. Intellectual Resources . One can identify six distinct intellectual influences on the founders. 1. The social contract theory of Locke . Locke believed in government by consent, where government is bound by an implicit contract to protect the peoples natural right to life, liberty, and estate. There is a dual contract: one, among the governed, to set up a government, and another, between the governed and the government. Locke envisioned a limited government - - a trustee for the peoples sovereignty - - and did not accept Hobbess idea that the king should be all powerful. 2. The Baron de Montesquieu . Montesquieu celebrated the English system of government as resting on a separation of powers , where the executive (the King) is separate from the legislature (the Parliament). The Founders admired this idea. Note that the Founders largely ignored the role of the prime minister; they thought the king was the real chief executive. 3. Intellectual Climate of the Day: the Scottish Enlightenment . David Hume argued that there wasnt in reality a social contract. He thought government always came from conquest or usurpation. He proposed as a criterion for evaluating the justice of a government its ability to protect property and the common good. In previously developed terminology, a just government would be one that resolved the PD effectively. The common good is comparable to the mutual advantage of contract. Like Hume, the 3 Founders thought it was important to protect property, not only for the good of the rich, but for everyone. Another towering figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, Adam Smith, did not come to exert influence until later: The Wealth of Nations...
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course POL SCI 40 taught by Professor Schwartz during the Fall '06 term at UCLA.

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lecture4 - 1 LECTURE NOTES UCLA Department of Political...

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