Foundations - Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence justified revolution based on the natural rights philosophy 1 Describe that

Foundations - Declaration of Independence The Declaration...

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Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence justified revolution based on the natural rights philosophy. 1. Describe that philosophy as applied in the Declaration by answering the following: (a) What are our natural rights, and how did we get them? As defined by John Locke, natural rights are the rights to life, liberty, and property, although Thomas Jefferson defined them as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They are rights given at birth by virtue of existing (not given by the government). (b) How is government formed and what is its purpose? The people form a government for the sole purpose of protecting those natural rights. Therefore, a government’s purpose is to protect those natural rights. (c) What should happen if government doesn’t live up to that purpose? The people would have the power to alter and/or abolish the current government and create a new one in order to fulfill the purpose of protecting natural rights. 2. What is a “social contract,” what is “popular sovereignty,” and how are both reflected in the natural rights philosophy set forth in the Declaration? A social contract is an implicit agreement between the members of a society. In this case, a social contract is established in forming a government to protect natural rights. Popular sovereignty is the power of the people to form, assess, and alter/abolish governments. 3. A major theme in this course is how governments balance “liberty” with “order.” In what way did the Declaration do so? The Declaration established the necessity of protecting liberty and the use of order to do so. It sets forth that the government’s sole purpose is to protect natural rights (and not violate them), which implies a laissez-faire attitude in most respects, but the power to impose order when liberty might be otherwise infringed upon. The Articles of Confederation Upon declaring independence, the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation as America’s first governing document. 1. Americans declared their independence to escape the tyranny of the British government. Why, then, was it logical that the Articles would establish a weak central government? The British government was very large, which enabled it to become tyrannical. Therefore, if the Articles established a weak government, it could not become tyrannical. That was what Americans wanted since they had already fought a long, bloody war to escape tyranny. 2. Describe how the Articles created a weak central government by answering the following: (a) What did it mean for the states to create a “firm league of friendship with each other” while also retaining their “sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States?” The 13 states were exactly that: independent and sovereign states. They were not a small government within a larger federal system. They were self-governing entities that
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operated completely separately from the others. Therefore, the “firm league of friendship” was
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  • Spring '16
  • REIMAN JEFFREY

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