self evident truth
- proposition in which the evidence for the truthfulness of
- the proposition is contained w/n the proposition itself.
What are the 3 meanings of equality discussed in the first self evident truth?
- Psychological- the difference in
- intelligence b/w any 2 men (difference of degree) is not as great as the
- difference in intelligence b/w man and dog. (difference of kind)
- Ethical- men should treat other
- men as neither beasts nor gods.
- Political- no one man possesses
- the natural right to rule another
What are the 4 self evident truths
- 1. All men are created equal
- 2. Endowed with certain unalienable rights (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness)
- 3. to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
- 4. People have the right to revolution
What was the change in understanding that occurred between 1776 and roughly 1820
with regard to the humanity of the slave and the institution of slavery?
- White political leaders in 1776 felt slavery was
- wrong and hoped it would diminish on its own, white political leaders in 1820
- felt slavery was OK and black men were not really men/people, they are material, "All men are created equal is a self-evident lie"
How many slaves were freed from 1776 to 1800?
What is “the state of nature” and why, according to Hobbes, Locke, and the
Declaration is it a bad thing?
NO government, NO common authority.
- Life w/o gov’t is: solitary, poor, nasty,
- brutish, and short
Bad because laws cannot be enforced
Need gov't to more effectively institute justice
What is the purpose of government?
to secure the rights of the people
How do civil rights differ from natural rights?
- 1. Natural rights are exercised
- only in nature (no gov’t); Civil rights exist only in civil society
- 2. Everybody enforces natural
- rights for themselves; civil rights enforced by common authority
- 3. Natural rights – absolute; civil
- rights – subject to regulation
How do we see the distinction between power (what I have the power to do) and right
(what I have the right to do) running throughout the Declaration?
Just because you have the power to do somehting doesn't mean you have the right to
Charges against the king grow w/ tyranny as the list of charges continues (starts with least, ends with most)
What was the "old science of politics"
3 major architects - Aristotle, Montesquieu, Francis Hutchison
- 3 forms of rule
- pure (public interest): Monarchy (one, power), Aristocracy (few, wisdom), Polity (many, civic virtue)
- corrupt (self/class interest): Despotism (one, abuse of power), Oligarchy (few, Rich), Democracy (many, because most people are poor and this is a class interest)
- 7th form of gov't: MIXED REGIME: 1 gov't that is a mixture of the 3 pure forms of gov't; system of checks and balances
was democracy regarded as a corrupt form of government under Aristotle’s
version of the old science of politics?
because most people are poor and this is a class interest
What is civic virtue and why was it thought to be so important for republican or
patriotism/love of country
every country is dominated by the psychological characteristics of its ruling class
What is the mixed regime and why is it the preferred political system under the old
science of politics?
1 gov't that is a mixture of the 3 pure forms of gov't; system of checks and balances
Why did the framers of the state constitutions reject the mixed regime?
- Little sympathy for
- mixed regime at this point because no one wanted a monarch and there is too
- much social mobility
Why is the period from 1781 to 1789 known as “the critical period”?
this was a period of turmoil (increasing debt), turmoil leads to doubt (doubt of the gov't and their authority/ability to rule)
What was significant about Shays’s Rebellion?
It scared people, this made people serious about attending the Constitutional Convention (Annapolis convention had small attendance)
Why did the men at the Federal Convention draft a new constitution rather than
merely amend the Articles of Confederation?
- Went to the convention told to revise the Articles to provide an adequate gov't and could not provide adequate government under the articles so
- Framers drafted constitution
was the purpose of “the new science of politics” embodied in the Constitution
- TO CREATE REPUBLIC THAT BEHAVES AS THOUGH IT IS
- A MIXED REGIME, A REPUBLICAN GOV’T THAT WILL SECURE BLESSINGS OF A MIXED
- REGIME: power, wisdom, civic virtue (fidelity to public interest), stability
What are the five components of the “improved science of politics” discussed by
Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 9?
- 1. Regular distribution of power into distinct departments (separation of
2. Introduction of legislative checks and balances
3. Tenure during good behavior of judges
5. Large country
6 features of old republicanism:
1. Dependent on civic virtue
- 2. Civic virtue req. social
- 3. Small country (smaller than NY,
- PA, or VA)
4. Simple affairs
5. Annual elections
6. Legislative supremacy
The theory of the small republic is centered on the idea of the virtue of the
citizens. Why does the theory of the
large republic reject that idea?
large republics require social heterogeneity and small republics are dependent upon civic virtue which requires social homogeneity