Henry David Thoreau discusses the importance of the individual in his essay “Civil Disobedience.” A government’s improvement revolves solely around recognizing the rights of men: “There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly” (Thoreau, 1847/1998, p. 146). The people form the government. A
“America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal - to discover and maintain liberty among men“ (Woodrow Wilson). Liberty is the vision Thomas Jefferson wrote for in his famous document, “Declaration of Independence.” He, and many others, believed in the separation of the 13 colonies from England, separation from heavy taxes and a restricting government. The authors of the “Declaration of Independence” wrote with exceptional diction, trustworthy ethos,and righteous(?) tone to unify americans and declare separation from England. Jefferson instantly starts off his essay talking about the human right to “dissolve the political bands”, and to become equal to nature and laws of God.
From the Constitution’s ratification in 1787 through the 1850s, many American historians shared the consensus that the founding fathers had designed the Constitution the way they did because they were trying to protect the citizens and their rights. James Kent was one very prominent historian among this group. In his book, Commentaries on American Law (1826), he stated “THE government of the United States was erected by the free voice and joint will of the people of America, for their common defence [defense] and general welfare...and it is justly deemed the guardian of our best rights, the source of our highest civil and political duties, and the sure means of national greatness.” (Kent) Essentially, James Kent was trying to convey the point
Alfred Bester says that there are two threads to his view of American Exceptionalism: one based on Seymour Martin Lipset and another on Frederick Jackson Turner.1 He says that Martin Lipset said that the United States is exceptional because it came out of a "revolutionary event" that set up America as "the first new nation" and built a vision for the future on the ideology that caused them to break with England in the first place.2 He says that Turner thought that because the U.S. had a lot of unclaimed land that regular people could own land and not have to depend on anyone else. This means that there wouldn’t be an aristocracy and that small land-owners stuck to the values of the Revolution.3 The combination of what Lipset and Turner said
Thomas Paine's Common Sense and The Declaration of Independence both speak against the heinous acts committed by the British and the stripping of natural human rights. Some of these natural rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Both documents advocate the separation from Great Britain. The colonist's belief in the superiority of the republican self-government based on the natural rights of the people found its clearest American expression in Thomas Paine's Common Sense and The Declaration of Independence. In Thomas Paine's Common Sense, he declares that men are born free and equal and remain that way throughout life.
John Locke declared that through natural law, all people have the right to life, liberty, and property. In extent, under social contract, the people could instigate a revolution against the government when it acted against the interests of its citizens and that they had the power to replace the government with one that served the interests of its citizens. In opposition to Hobbes, who views government as almighty and immune to revolution, Locke permits revolution in circumstances of long and sustained abuse. The Bill of Rights and The Federalist Papers, too, can be seen as fortifying the right of revolution. In Federalist 28, Hamilton expresses this thought by saying, “if the persons entrusted with supreme power became usurpers…The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms...” Furthermore, these documents seek to ensure that the people do not suffer the abuses of a tyrannical sovereign ever again.
The American Revolution was between the Americans and England’s King, and the French Revolution was between the French’s king ad the third estate. The Declaration of Independence was created, because the Americans thought that all men should have the same rights and the King of England has done the opposite of what they wanted. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was created, because the French third estate wasn’t being treated like the 1st and 2nd estate and they wanted have rights that was justified. These Revolutions started from Enlightenment ideas. Enlightenment ideas were ideas that would help with individualism.
John Locke’s Stance on Property “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” While writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson believed these ideals were to be the focus of the government. This phrase, however, was adapted from John Locke’s focus of government: “Life, liberty, and property.” John Locke, unlike other philosopher such as Hobbes, believed that personal property was essential for life and protecting that property was to protect yourself. Locke also believes that with the ownership of property comes unequal property ownership Today, there are still debates on what constitutes one’s property and how to implement policies that can create an equal distribution of property (ex. The wage gap). Locke, therefore, argues that different types of property ownership, even in the state of nature, comes from adding value to that
In conclusion, the Enlightenment was vital to the American Revolution and the creation of American Government. The Enlightenment beliefs that influenced the American Revolution were natural rights, the social contract, and the right to overthrow the government if the social contract was violated. The Enlightenment beliefs that aided to the creation of the American government were separation of powers, checks and balances, and limited government. As stated before, without the Enlightenment there would not have been a revolution, resulting in no American Government. The Enlightenment’s influence on the creation of America is irrefutable.
Locke’s idea proposed the natural rights, which are life, liberty, and property. He stated this for people to set up civil government to protect their natural rights. Similar to what Locke proposed, the declaration used a comparable statement when it said, “The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression.” Another Enlightenment thinker is Voltaire. Stated in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, article eleven states, “The free communication of ideas and opinion is one of the most precious of the rights of man.