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1. "The Philosophy of Hobbes and Religion of Calvin" a. The men who drew up the Constitution had a vivid Calvinistic sense of human evil and damnation and believed with Hobbes that men are selfish and contentious. i. Did not believe in man, but they did believe in the power of a good political constitution to control him. ii. Distrust of the common man and democratic rule. iii. After revolution, old colonial grievances of farmers, debtors, and squatters flared up anew. iv. The lower orders took advantage of new democratic constitutions in several states. v. Possessing classes frightened. vi. Concerned to create a government that could not only regulate trade but also prevent currency inflation and uprisings such as Shays Rebellion. b. The new Constitution was to confine the popular spirit that had been at large since 1776. i. Charles Pinckney proposed that no one be president who was not worth at least $100,000. c. Democracy appeals to the discontented and oppressed but not to a privileged class. i. With a half-dozen exceptions at the most, the men of the Philadelphia Convention were sons of men who had considerable position and wealth. ii. Nowhere in America or Europe – not even among the Enlightenment – did democratic ideas appear respectable to the cultivated classes. d. While they were afraid of the extreme left - mob democracy, they were also afraid of extreme right – monarchy. i.
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This note was uploaded on 08/31/2010 for the course AMER HIST 45213 taught by Professor Platt during the Spring '10 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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