LockeMadison Outline

LockeMadison Outline - Intro: Aristotle and Machiavelli...

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Intro: Aristotle and Machiavelli both defined liberty to be citizens controlling themselves through their adherence to a communal set of laws and values created by the citizens themselves. Aristotle asserted that reason and communal decision making led to the attainment of this liberty, while Machiavelli believed communal passions were what gave the citizens control over their government. Despite the differences between these two thinkers, their basic definition of liberty-- people communally controlling themselves through the government – persisted. However, this definition of liberty completely changed when John Locke and James Madison’s entered the stage. In this paper, we will discuss how the political theories of John Locke and James Madison redefined not only the process by which people attain liberty, but the very structure of liberty as well. Through the value system established in Locke’s Second Treatise of Government , reason is redefined to be attainable individually, and shown to facilitate a system of individual rights that replaces communal values, passions, and reasoning. Liberty is no longer people controlling themselves through government, but rather having their individual rights and interests protected by the government in situations where they cannot protect them on their own. Madison then adheres to this new individual value system by advocating a form of government in The Federalist Papers that does not attempt to bring people together to form a community, but rather to take advantage of their selfish, materialistic goals and natural conflicts by convincing them that they can achieve more individually by committing to the public good. He sets out to structure a government in which people are incapable of infringing upon each other’s individual rights by taking advantage of their propensity to form factions, and hopes that this structure will in fact help the public good of the community. thus refuting the very core of Aristotle’s communal reasoning and logos, as well as Machiavelli’s communal, passionate decision making Main difference in Locke/Madison definition of liberty is that: A= reasoned decision making with others driven by virtue M= passionate communal decision making driven by communal materialism L/M= individual reason driven by individual materialism. Materialism and lack of trust. Definition of liberty? Liberal(Modern) conception is about the govt not infringing on rights vs you controlling yourself through govt. using reason for purpose of creating laws 1. Individual Rights a. Reason is self-determined and natural. Obtains it individually. Because everyone has reason, they are able to understand rights. Everyone possesses reason, so
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course POLISCI 1011-11 taught by Professor Stevenkelts during the Fall '11 term at GWU.

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LockeMadison Outline - Intro: Aristotle and Machiavelli...

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