government notes - American Government Notes 31 August 2011...

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American Government Notes 31 August 2011 Points of this lecture: 1. What is the purpose of government ? 2. What is the basis of legitimate government power ? 3. What are the origins of rights ? 4. What is the nature of legal duty ? 5. What are the limits on legal obligation ? John Locke (British philosopher in the 1700’s, known as the “father of liberalism”) He wrote two treatises (A treatise is like an essay) - First Treatise: o Locke discusses the divine right theory God chose the king, so the people have to obey the king - Second Treatise: o Lock asks the question: If it isn’t God that obligates you to obey the government, then what is your obligation? The “State of Nature”: what life was like before government (According to John Locke) - People in the “state of nature” were not savage, but rather they were regular people who went about their daily business. There is a state of equality among the people. Some people are naturally better at gaining wealth. People are naturally free . Even before written law, there is an understood law that preexists government. - The understood law came naturally. People are morally obligated to not harm themselves or others. Perhaps the obligation comes ultimately from God. - Fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property are present before government What is the purpose of government? (According to John Locke) - To protect the preexisting rights of property - To set the roles of commerce (keep things balanced) 1
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How is government created? (According to John Locke) - Free people come together to form a social contract What is the nature of legal duty? (According to John Locke) - Social contract: you don’t have to follow the laws (if they proceed the proper purpose of government) What happens if an “unjust law” is passed? (According to John Locke) - If there is a long treatment of abuses, you have the right to throw down your government and create a new one that represents you What are the limits on legal obligation? (According to John Locke) - The “Right of Revolt”: in the end, the written constitution doesn’t matter. The government should represent its people. 2 September 2011 The Articles of Confederation - The original United States constitution - Only lasted 10 years Strengths or Significance: - Kept the country together - United States wins the Revolutionary War during its time - Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (set up the process for admitting new states) Weaknesses: - Weak national government - Weak Legislative branch (Congress) - No executive branch - No national court system - No national army - No national currency - No power to tax
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course ENGLISH 102 taught by Professor Flower during the Spring '11 term at University of Indianapolis.

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government notes - American Government Notes 31 August 2011...

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