classical v natural rights

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classical v natural rights
Is
it more important to
provide for the common
good or protect individual
rights?
Standard
CA 12.1.1: Explain how the U.S.
Constitution reflects a balance
between the classical republican
concern with promotion of the
public good and the classical liberal
concern with protecting individual
rights; and discuss how the basic
premises of liberal
constitutionalism and democracy
are joined in the Declaration of
Independence as "self-evident
truths."
 Students
will be able to explain
the ideologies of classical
Liberals and Republicans by
writing paragraphs.

The Declaration of Independence describes
what good governments must do and what
rights individuals have under a
government. Governments are expected to
provide for the public good, which means
acting on behalf of everyone in society,
together. They must also respect the rights
of individuals. Sometimes these two
principles conflict.
 Collectivism
 Individualism
 Public
 Individual
Good
 Republicanism
Rights
 Liberalism
Protection of “public good”
the theory and practice that the group
rather, than the individual, is the
fundamental unit of political, social, and
economic concern.
 collectivists insist that the claims of the
state must normally supersede the claims
of individuals
 What is best for the most people.


PUBLIC GOOD

The Founders studied the history of the classical
periods of ancient Greece and Rome.
◦ The Roman Republic promoted the
common good:
 What was best for society was known
as classical republicanism

The classical republicanism of the ancient world
only flourished in small, uniform communities.
◦ The young United States was large and
represented people of different cultural
backgrounds, economic conditions, and
religious beliefs.

The classical republican idea of civic virtue
conflicted with the Founders’ belief in natural
rights.
 What
would be examples in
today’s society that promotes
public good?
 In other words, what can you
specifically do to promote public
good in the United States?
Jury Duty◦ You are serving the community as a
whole, promoting justice and a fair trial.
 Taxes
◦ The government uses your money to
provide necessary services to the society
as a whole, promoting social welfare.


Right of the majority
◦ Rights of the individual may be given up for the
rights of the majority
◦ Voting: The majority is always making the
decision
◦ Your representative is making a decision on
what he believes is the best for all of his
constituents (the people he represents)
Which
do you think is
more important
protecting individual
rights or promoting the
public good? Why?

James Madison “Father of the
Constitution”
◦ He translated the ideas of classical
republicanism in such a way as to make
them practical in the new American
republic
◦Madison defined the difference between
◦democracies and republics
Democracy
Republic
Works best in small
communities like the
ancient city-states of
Greece
 works best in large,
diverse communities
the people administer
the government
themselves.
 the people elect
representatives
govern the
government
◦ Believed America could and should have
a republican form of government
 Laws would be made and administered
by representatives elected by the people
 Members of government should be
elected by a large number of people,
rather than by a small group.
 His government was defined as a
representative democracy
◦ Those who believed in republicanism
were called Federalists

Madison believed that people were
motivated primarily by self-interest
◦ The pursuit of self-interest could in its own way
further the common good
◦ Madison also believed that people may act against the
interests of others and against the common good
 Any sound government had to make allowances for
this
 “If all people were angels, there would be no need for
government.”
◦ He favored a constitution that limited
government by
 Separation of powers
 A system of checks and balances
How
does Separation of
Powers limit the power
of the government?
 Complete
the paragraph on
the back of the lecture notes.
Protection of “Individual Rights”

Constitutions govern government and those that
govern are restricted in their use of power by higher
law.

Individual freedoms should be placed beyond the
reach of government and majorities.

Constitutions must truly limit the exercise of
authority by government. A government of laws not
people operate on the principle that power and the
officials of government should be restrained in
their exercise of power over individuals.
Standard 12.1.1:
Explain how the U.S. Constitution
reflects a balance between the
classical republican concern with
promotion of the public good and
the classical liberal concern with
protecting individual rights; and
discuss how the basic premises of
liberal constitutionalism and
democracy are joined in the
Declaration of Independence as
"self-evident truths."

The Founders studied the religions of
Christianity and Judaism.
◦ These religions promoted individual
rights:
 What promoted individual rights the
most was known as classical
liberalism

Belief that the individual should be free to
do whatever they choose, so long as they
are not causing physical harm to others or
to their property

Individual Rights
◦ Who was the philosopher that promoted
individual rights?
 John Locke

Rights of the Individual:
◦ Property rights
◦ Natural rights
◦ Protection of civil liberties
◦ equality under the law
 Freedom
of Speech◦ You should have the right to say
what you want, even if I disagree
with it.



Thomas Jefferson promoted individual rights and
expressed these “self-evident truths” in the
Declaration of Independence.
Those who were considered “liberal” were called
anti-federalists.
They argued for the addition of the “Bill of Rights”


What were the “selfevident” truths found
in the Declaration of
Independence?
Q1: What are
unalienable rights?
LIBERTY
Pursuit of
Happiness
LIFE
Self-evident truths

Q2: Where does the
government get the
power to govern from?
Gov’t is instituted
Among men.
Right to
Abolish Gov’t.
 Describe
the differences between
Classical Republicanism and Classical
Liberalism
 Give
an example of when the
government promotes individual
rights and when the government
promotes the common good.
 Complete
the paragraph on the back
of the lecture notes.
 Directions:
Read the following quotes
and figure out who would have said it
–
 a Federalist (Classical Republican) or
 Anti-Federalist (Classical Liberal)

“All communities divide themselves
into the few and the many. The first are
the rich and well born; the other, the
mass of people…. The people are
turbulent and changing; they seldom
judge or determine right. Give
therefore the first class a ….permanent
share in the government….they
therefore will ever maintain good
government.”
Federalist
“Our
country is too
large to have all
affairs directed by
a single
government.”
Anti-Federalist
“The
small landowners
are the most precious
part of the state.”
Anti-Federalist
 “It
must be by this time
evident to all men…that (the
Articles of Confederation) is
a system so radically vicious
and unsound as to
admit….an entire change.”
Federalist
 “I
consider the foundation of
the Constitution as laid on this
ground – that all powers not
delegate (given) to the United
States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the states,
are reserved to the states, or to
the people….”
Anti-Federalist
 “The
powers contained in
the constitution….ought to
be construed liberally in
advancement of the public
good.”
Federalist
 “I
am not among those who
fear the people. They, not
the rich, are our dependence
for continued freedom.”
Anti-Federalist
 Give
an example of when
government provides for the public
good.
 Give an example of when it protects
individual rights
 Get
into your teams and
complete worksheet:
◦Public Good v Individual
Rights
 Where
do you lie on the spectrum?
 If
the government has to lean to one
side of the spectrum, which side
should it be on?
 How
would the Founding Fathers
answer this question?

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