The Lockean state is seen as simply the servant or agent of the propertied men who contract to set it up, their interest in creating the state no more than the very worldly one of having it protect their lives, liberty, and property.
The state, according to Locke, should do no more, nor no less. If it did more, such as prescribing religious truth, or if it did less, such as failing to protect the liberty or property of its subjects, then as a mere servant the state would be dismissed by those who had set it up and would be replaced by another. Such, indeed, was the political ideology of the Founding Fathers as captured by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
The language is pure Locke. 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: That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; 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, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Since the liberal vision of the state assumed that government does nothing but perform the strictly limited task of protecting rights, liberal theory self-consciously strips government and the state of any moral or religious function. Once again it was the Englishman John Locke who provided the principal expression of this new liberal world view for the founders in his Letter Concerning Toleration. The state, he wrote,.
Was the American Revolution Conservative?
Civil interests I call life, liberty, health, and indolence of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like. It is the duty of the civil magistrate, by the impartial execution of equal laws, to secure unto all the people in general, and to every one of his subjects in particular the just possession of these things belonging to this life. Men, according to Locke, have contracted to obey civil authority not in order for that authority to tell them what to believe or how to pray but simply because it keeps the peace.
As for changing or influencing what people believe, Locke writes,. Every man has commission to admonish, exhort, convince another of error, and, by reasoning, to draw him into truth; but to give laws, receive obedience, and compel with the sword, belongs to none but the magistrate. In this crucial turning point in Western culture liberal ideology, very much influenced by Protestant conviction, pushes morality and religion outside the public political realm to a private realm of individual experience, transforming the entire definition of what is public and what is private.
The public realm, which for nearly two millennia was all-inclusive, supervising in the name of the Christian commonwealth political, economic, and religious matters, is severely curtailed as liberal theory expands the role of the private realm, giving it morality, religious belief, and soon economic activity. What a revolution seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English liberalism brings in insisting that matters of religious conviction are not public and political matters but private and personal ones.
As Locke notes,. But all force and compulsion are to be forborne.
Reading the American Revolution
Nothing is to be done imperiously. Nobody is obliged in that matter to yield obedience unto the admonitions or injunctions of another, further than he himself is persuaded. Every man in that has the supreme and absolute authority of judging for himself. And the reason is because nobody else is concerned in it, nor can receive any prejudice from his conduct therein. Modern Historians Confront the American Revolution Mises Institute - introduction the american revolution is defined as the political turbulence that took place towards the end of eighteenth century when thirteen colonies in america united to attain freedom from the british empire clifford, Investigating the causes of such a portentous event as the American Revolution is more, then, than a mere listing of preceding occurrences; for the historian must weigh the causal significance of these factors, and select those of overriding importance.
Essay the ideals in the revolution that motivated the people to fight for freedom continued to influence american society well beyond the colonial period.
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Was the American Revolution Radical? | Mises Institute
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