Founder's Toolbox And The Ideals Of John Locke And James Harrington

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The elements of the "Founder's Toolbox" and the ideals of John Locke and James Harrington were some of major intellectual influences that led to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Founders based the structure, participation, and leadership of their government on writings from Harrington and included them in the Constitution. The moral sense from Locke provided a good base for the law of the United States government and was included in the Bill of Rights. These principles helped model the system of government we enjoy today.
The Bill of Rights was partially inspired by the musings of John Locke. When constructing these rights, the Framers understood that "bills of rights challenged kings to remember the Lockean truth that the people had fundamental rights granted by nature, rights that the government could not abrogate" (Fox and Pope 107). Various amendments in the Bill of Rights use Lockean language and support his ideals, such as Amendment V with Locke's ever-famous "life, liberty, or property" (Fox …show more content…

These ideas became the basic structure for the United States government, giving us the three branches (Judicial, Legislative, and Executive) that we rely on today. Harrington wrote: "An equal commonwealth… is a government established upon an equal agrarian… arising into the superstructures or three orders, the Senate debating and proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing, by an equal rotation through the suffrage of the people given by the ballot" (Harrington 53). These principles are described in more thorough detail in Articles I to III in the Constitution, helping to set rules and explain the role of each order. The separation of powers these three branches create was also influenced by Harrington's analogy of dividing a cake perfectly through self-interest. This in turn creates fairness among the branches and ensures a balanced

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