Monday, September 28, 2009

Common Sense?

Common Sense by Thomas Paine was written to address the tyranny against the British government towards the people that lived in the American Colonies. For me, this document wasnt "common Sense" to read. It was hard to understand it at some points because of the way it was written. The style and language used is very different from modern writing, but back when Thomas Paine wrote this document, the language was easily understood by many people.

When Thomas Paine first wrote Common Sense in 1776, it challenged the British government. He used plain language and writing style so a wide variety of people would be able to read and understand the document.

The main point in Thomas Paine's Common Sense was to show to the people the way King George was running the government and looking out for the people. He demonstrated and explained the role that government should and should not play in society.

This was the first document which openly asked for independence from Great Britain. Common Sense spread the message of independence to many people in the American colonies, encouraging them to keep fighting for their independence.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Declaration of Independence

In John Locke's Second Treatise of Government he creates a model of his ideal civil government, which is created by the people to ensure their “natural rights” -- life, liberty, and property.

I believe that Thomas Jefferson in writing The Declaration of Independence, was influenced by Locke’s views. You can see this from the preamble to The Declaration of Independence. It portrays Locke’s ideas of the “state of nature” and the “politic society”.

I think Thomas Jefferson not only read John Locke's Second Treatise of government, but agreed with many of his ideas and pulled from it to for the Declaration of Independence.

The biggest comparison would be
John Locke wanted everyone to have the the "right to life, liberty, and property" which is used in the declaration as "right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." So you can see that Thomas Jefferson pulled from John Locke's ideas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Second Treatise of Civil Government

This is my perspective, from a politically clueless high school senior:

The Second Treatise of Civil Government by John Locke begins by describing the state of nature in which people lived. Locke had three main point that I think are important:

1. All people are equal and have natural rights

2. Believed in having executive power to enforce the laws and defend civil liberty

3. Believed in people having the right to "life, liberty, and property"

As I was reading John Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government, I thought to myself, "What would Locke think about our government at this time?" Would he support it? Would it prove his point? What would Locke think if he were alive today?

When trying to think of an answer to my own question I kept coming back to his main point on "life, liberty, and property." Locke believed that in order to protect ones right to "life, liberty, and property" they would be willing to give up some other freedoms to have the government protect them. An example of Locke's theory played out in modern government is as follows.

Shorty after the September 11 attacks, eight years ago, President Bush put into place the "Patriot Act." This act allows the government to look up information about you without having a warrant. It was put into place to help national defense security keep tabs on suspicious people. The Patriot Act is a prime example of people giving up there freedoms of private property to in return feel more protected.

John Locke's ideas are the bases of the constitution. His views on the nature of man are shared by most Americans. "Life, liberty, and property" are all very important to modern government and I think that if John Locke could come back in time, he would be satisfied with the way the government was being ran over 300 years after he wrote the Second Treaties of Civil Government.