Principles from the Past What Ideas Shaped How the Colonists Thought About Government? American colonists inherited most of their ideas and principles about government from Great Britain, the Enlightenment, and ancient history. The history of Ancient Greece and Rome inspired Enlightenment philosophers to write about the ideas of democracy and a republic. John Locke had probably the greatest Influence of these philosophers on Americans. He wrote about natural rights, social contract, and popular sovereignty.
Educated American colonial leaders read widely about governments and story.
The roots of American government derive from Great Britain, since Great Britain ruled over the colonies and many of the colonists were British citizens. Great Britain had already adopted many of these Ideas Into Its own government, Including limiting the power of the monarch to give more power to elected officials who would represent the people’s interests. Examine this chart to see a summary of ideas that shaped the colonists’ Ideas about government.
Ideas About Government Text Version Ancient Greece Idea: Direct democracy Citizens vote directly on political issues and laws in this form f government.
Governments In ancient Greece came closest to direct democracy because all the people defined as citizens could vote on decisions. Note that women and slaves could not vote, but at the time it was the most democratic government known. Ancient Rome Idea: Republic This is a form of government where the citizens elect representatives to make laws. In a large, populous, and diverse society such as ancient Rome, a republic was more efficient for government decisions.
It gave people a voice who would not have been able to participate If only those present In the capital voted to cake decisions, as would happen under direct democracy. Enlightenment Idea: Natural rights The Enlightenment philosopher John Locke listed life. Liberty, and estate, or property, as “natural rights. ” These are rights individuals are born with, that no government can take away. People have interpreted those words to determine rights that give people protection of their personal selves, their material goods, and the ability to determine their future without Interference.
Idea: Social contract A government Is legitimate only If the people agree with Its existence, meaning the government has their consent to rule. Social contract takes this a step further to say that this consent places government under an obligation to could withdraw their consent, abolish the government, and form a new one. Idea: Popular sovereignty Popular sovereignty is the principle that the people themselves, rather than the government, have final authority. A direct democracy upholds this principle because the citizens themselves vote to make decisions.
A republic can also reflect this principle because the people give power to those they elect as representatives. Change for the Colonies How Did Governance in the Colonies Change? As people settled the American colonies in the ass’s, they had charters from Great retain that outlined their purpose and governance. Some were set up as an economic venture, while others focused on building a different society. The colonies received little oversight from Great Britain for nearly 200 years, yet most colonists considered themselves British citizens.
By the ass’s, British policy began to change. Ere French and Indian War, fought on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, put Great retain into heavy debt. The government’s expectation was that the colonists should elf with the financial burden of the war, since some of the debt derived from defense of the colonies. The colonists rejected and protested the taxes and policies placed on them, not only as a fundamental change to how the colonies had been governed but also as a slight on their status as British subjects.
Taxes and trade restrictions hurt merchants, who in turn had to raise prices on other colonists who paid them. The colonists did not have representation in the British Parliament. Therefore, they reasoned, Great Britain did not have the colonists’ consent to rule. No en spoke for the colonists’ interests in Great Britain, and the monarch would not permit them to send a representative. Until the mid-ass’s, Great Britain would try to appease the colonists by abolishing or changing a new policy, only to create another that still frustrated the colonial interests.
The increased presence of British troops after the end of the war further ignited tensions, and the conflict between colony and crown went from words to an armed rebellion in Massachusetts. The Boston Massacre, an outbreak of fighting between colonists and soldiers, left five colonists dead. To protest a tax on tea, colonists dumped British tea into the Boston harbor. Ere colonists’ actions, known as the Boston Tea Party, infuriated the British king and Parliament, which led to the closing of the harbor. The colonists began to arm themselves in defense because of these and other events.
Colonial Response How Did Colonial Leaders Respond? Colonial leaders called a meeting, known as the First Continental Congress, in 1774. They hoped they could find a way to resolve their differences with the British government. The king ignored their petition to reopen Boston harbor and repeal there acts. In April 1775, fighting broke out between colonists and British soldiers in the towns of Lexington and Concord, near Boston. When the Second Continental They sent what became known as the Olive Branch Petition to request an end to artists soldiers’ aggression.
The king still did not respond, as he thought the colonists had no right to petition him or the Parliament. Many colonists, especially those whose livelihoods depended on trade in important ports like Boston, started to believe that they needed to take severe action. In early 1776, Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet ladled Common Sense that outlined why the colonies should be independent, drawing from the ideas and principles of the Enlightenment. The pamphlet blamed King George Ill for the problems in the American colonies and challenged the authority of the British government and monarchy.
It argued that the colonists should declare their independence from Britain and proposed a government based on popular sovereignty and a written constitution. Not all colonists agreed that independence from Great Britain was a good idea. However, people from all over the colonies read the pamphlet, which helped convince many to Join the independence cause. In the summer of 1776, a committee appointed Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence. Other leaders helped refine the document, and then they approved it by vote on July 4, 1776.
Meriting the Declaration of Independence Text Version [Narrator] during the late ass’s, resentment against British rule began to grow in colonial America. Taxes imposed by Britain sparked angry protests. These disputes soon turned violent and led, in 1775, to the first battles of the American Revolution. Despite the fighting, few colonists openly called for independence at first. Only one- third of the colonists wanted a rebellion, another third were against it, and the remaining third were indifferent. But public opinion began to shift, helped in part by pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, an Englishman recently arrived in America.
Paine had difficulty finding a typesetter to print his work, as it would be considered treasonous. Finally, in January of 1776, a rebel printer published it. The pamphlet was called” Common Sense. ” in its 47 pages, Paine made the case for independence by attacking the idea that Britain’s king should rule the American colonies. ” Common Sense” was read aloud from street corners and pulpits and in taverns, parlors, and schools. On June 7, 1776, a member of the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, voiced the idea of independence.
Richard Henry Lee, a tobacco planter from Virginia, rose to offer a resolution. [Lee] … That these united colonies are free and independent states. That they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown. [Narrator] Congress appointed a five-man committee to draft a Declaration of Independence. The members included Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. But none of the senior members wanted the Job of writing it. They believed the document itself Mould be an historical footnote-a technicality. As a result, the task was given to the committee’s youngest member-33-year-old Thomas Jefferson.
Working for two days and nights in his second-story rented room, Jefferson bent over his portable writing table and produced the first draft of the most enduring protest document in the history of the free world. Jefferson magnificent words were not wholly original. He 17th-century British philosopher John Locke. Just weeks earlier, Mason had written in the preamble to the Virginia Constitution that all men by nature are equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, namely the enjoyment of life and liberty. Berlin] There’s nothing new in the Declaration of Independence. If its arguments hadn’t been familiar and understandable, it wouldn’t have been a very powerful document of Justification. [Narrator] After nine hours of heated debate, Congress passed the resolution for independence. 13 separate English colonies now called themselves” the United States of America. ” The vote for independence came on July 2, 1776-a date John Adams was certain would go down in history. Two days eater, on the fourth, the delegates approved the text of Jefferson declaration.
About a month later, a formal copy of the declaration was ready to be signed by all the members of Congress. The president of Congress, John Hancock, was the first to sign the document. In fewer than 40 words, Jefferson defined the ideals of the newborn nation in the declaration’s opening words. ” We hold these truths to be self-evident,” that all men are created equal, that they are endowed” by their creator with certain unalienable rights,” that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ” Structure of the Declaration How Is the Declaration of Independence Organized?
Thomas Jefferson and other leaders who helped create the Declaration of Independence did not think the document would become famous in its own right. They thought of it as stating the obvious, a formality compared to the issues of creating a new government and preparing to fight to obtain their independence. Yet it endures today as a statement of the core principles Americans value in government and as a model to other people around the world who have sought independence for their own nations. The document has three main components.
The first section introduces the reasons it was created and explains the colonists’ beliefs about the purpose of government. You can find evidence of their principles and ideas best in this first section. The second section lists the complaints against King George Ill, which were the actions he took that the colonists believed violated their rights and principles of government. In the last section, the colonists officially declare the United States as an independent nation and clarify what that means for their relationship with Great Britain and other nations. How Is the Declaration of Independence Organized?
Text Version Introduction and Beliefs Gives reasons for writing, including that breaking away from a ruling country should include notification of the reasons why Describes colonists’ beliefs about government, including John Locker’s natural rights and social contract theory List of Grievances Lists colonists’ 29 complaints against King George Ill Complaints include taxation without representation, forcing colonists to keep British solders in their homes, restricting the colonists’ trade, and shutting down colonial legislatures Includes list of attempts by the colonists to seek redress from the king for their problems
Formal Declaration States that because of the grievances and failure of the king or Parliament to address them, the colonies would now be “Free and Independent States” The colonies would rule themselves and no longer give loyalty to Britain or follow its laws, but rather make their own States that the colonists will defend the Declaration of Independence with their lives, wealth, and honor Social Contract How Does the Declaration of Independence Reflect the Social Contract Principle?
The colonists believed King George Ill failed in his duty to protect the people and their natural rights. The grievances list the specific actions that demonstrate his failure. The introduction to the Declaration of Independence restates the purpose of government in terms of social contract theory, that people create government in order to secure their rights. Government only exists because the people have willed it or given their consent to certain leaders to rule.
It then states that when a government fails or even denies rights, the people can abolish it and create a new Declaration of Independence Text Version Quote: When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to solve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Explanation: When it becomes necessary for a group to dissolve their political association with another country, they should state the reasons for the separation. Quote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that hey are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Explanation: These facts are obvious: All men are created equal, and they are provided by their creator with certain rights that Quote: That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their Just powers from the consent of the governed.
Explanation: To assure these rights, men create governments. Governments get their power from the people that they govern. Quote: That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it s the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government Explanation: When any government takes away these rights, the people have the right to change or get rid of it, and to form a new government. Popular Sovereignty How Does the Declaration of Independence Reflect Popular Sovereignty?
Popular sovereignty is the idea that the people are the source of authority and power in government. In a republic, or representative democracy, people place the power of daily government decision making in the hands of elected leaders. However, the people could take that consent back and give it to new leaders. While most are not concerned with the everyday work of the government, they still give it legitimacy. Benjamin Franklin explained the idea of popular sovereignty when he said, “In free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns. The colonists believed that they were still British citizens entitled to the same status as those in Great Britain itself. Since they had no say in policy decisions and no part in the decision to place taxes on the colonies, they said they had not given consent. The colonists’ chant of “No taxation without representation” derived room this idea of consent and source of authority. They had no representative in Parliament. Therefore, the Declaration of Independence was their way of saying the government of Great Britain was no longer legitimate over the colonies.
The king banned their own colonial legislatures from meeting, further preventing any kind of popular response to the king’s policies. Natural and Individual Rights How Does the Declaration of Independence Reflect Natural and Individual Rights? As stated in the social contract principle, the Job of government is to protect its people and their rights. John Locke described the natural rights as those of “life, liberty, and estate. ” All individuals hold these natural rights simply because they are human. They are unalienable, meaning no government or person can take them away.
He used estate, or property, to explain that people have the right to make their own living and to provide for their own needs. When the Declaration of Independence was Mitten, Jefferson broadened this last right to “pursuit of happiness,” as owning property was not guaranteed or always necessary to provide for oneself. Historians Slavery was a normal part of life for them, especially in the Southern colonies. Omen did not participate or influence political matters directly, only through male relatives. The phrase “all men are created equal” still sparks discussion today.
Most Americans would consider “all men” to literally mean all humans, though perhaps colonial leaders meant only males born free who were age 21 years or more. Notions of equality and citizens entitled to natural rights, including political rights, were different in the 18th century, though they were slowly changing. People at the time discussed the Declaration of Independence as a basis for ending slavery in the colonies, particularly in the North. The wording of this document and the phrase “all men” would later be interpreted to include men and women of all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities.
Declaration Quotes Nat Other Quotes in the Declaration of Independence Reflect These Principles? The principles of social contract, popular sovereignty, and natural rights are closely related, and they are evident throughout the Declaration of Independence. Listen carefully to the words of the document and the meaning of each quote in this activity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that hey are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Here it says people have rights that come from no government or law or agreement. They have rights that come directly from God simply by being a human. This is the idea of natural rights from the philosopher John Locke “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to Institute new Government Here Locker’s idea of social contract is included. It says hat when government is no longer doing its Job of protecting natural rights, people have the right to change the government or get rid of it and start a new one. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. ” Here it says that King George Ill has abused the colonists’ rights repeatedly for a long time. They accuse him of being a tyrant, an evil leader who misuses power. To prove their causation, they will list his specific actions for people to consider. The colonists needed to convince people their cause was Just. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. ” 27 of the 29 grievances begin with begin with “He has,” like this one. This puts the focus on King George Ill and the way the colonists say he acted like a tyrant. Here they complain that he refused to approve laws that were good and important for the colonies. “He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the mount and payment of their salaries. ” Here they complain about the king controlling the Judges in the colonies.
If the king did not like their decision on a case, he could fire them or lower their pay. They say that since the Judges’ Jobs and earnings depend on the king, they could never decide cases fairly. “He has abdicated Here it says King George Ill has already abandoned the colonists. He did this first by declaring them in rebellion and therefore no longer under British protection. Then they describe the early battles of the American Revolution as the king making war on them. They too have been deaf to the voice of Justice and of consanguinity.
We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. ” Here it accuses the British people and Parliament of ignoring the colonists’ concerns as well. Despite ties of culture and family, the colonists separate themselves from the British people as well as the king. Many delegates were deeply upset that neither Parliament nor the general people of the country supported the colonists. “We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America. …
Here they give a name to the new nation… “Solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States” They announce that the colonies are free and independent, no longer subject to the British king. Review Text Version 1 . The Declaration of Independence contains an introduction, list of grievances, and formal statement of independence. True 2. The principle of natural rights originated n the Enlightenment. True 3. King George Ills colonial policies reflected greater respect for the principle of popular sovereignty over time.
Cite this What Is A Federal Government
What Is A Federal Government. (2018, Jan 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/government-6/