Study_Guide_21[1] - Chapter 21: The Revolution in Politics...

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Chapter 21: The Revolution in Politics 1775-1815 Review Questions 1. The ideas of liberty and equality were the central ideas of classical liberalism. Define these ideas. Are they the same as democracy? Classical Liberalism is a political and economic philosophy originally founded on the Enlightenment tradition, that tries to circumscribe the limits of political power and to define and support individual rights. It is a liberal ideology entailing a minimal role for government in order to maximize individual freedom. The American Constitution and English Bill of Rights exemplified the great strengths and the limits of what became to be called “classical liberalism.” The call for liberty was first of all a call for individual human rights. Liberals of the revolutionary era protested such controls from on high. The liberals demanded freedom to worship according to the dictates of their consciences, an end to censorship, and freedom from arbitrary laws from judges who simply followed orders for the government. Equality was an ambiguous idea. Eighteenth century liberals argued that in theory, all citizens should have identical rights and civil liberties and that the nobility had no right to special privileges based on the accident of their birth. In theory, classical liberalism is the essentially the same as democracy. Since in classical liberalism the role of government is minimal so that the freedom of man is exemplified, and in democracy the ruler is voted in, so that you know everything that he will do to help and hurt you, they both are the same. (pg.’s 691-692, 696) 2. According to Locke, what is the function of government? Certain English and French thinkers were mainly responsible for joining the Enlightenment’s concern for personal freedom and legal equality to a theoretical justification of liberal self- government. The two most important were John Locke and baron de Montesquieu. Locke maintained that England’s long political tradition rested on “the rights of Englishmen” and on representative government through Parliament. His significance was that he admired especially the Whig nobles who had deposed James II and made the bloodless revolution of 1688-1689, and he argued that if a government oversteps its proper function of protecting the natural rights of life, liberty, and private property, it becomes tyranny. (pg. 692) 3. Did the Americans or the British have the better argument on the taxation problem? The Americans had the better argument for taxation by far. In Britain, the empire would keep taxing the citizens in times of peril and debt, which was very foolish. Britain also taxed indefinitely on land that they had just acquired.
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Study_Guide_21[1] - Chapter 21: The Revolution in Politics...

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