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Why do we need a government?

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Presentation on theme: "Why do we need a government?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why do we need a government?

2 Government: “A collective of individuals and institutions, the formal vehicles through which policies are made and affairs of state are conducted” (O’Connor, Sabato, Haag and Keith, p. 5).

3 Typical Justifications for Government:
1.To protect life, liberty and property 2.To aspire to a meaningful, moral community 3.To achieve compromise, cooperation, and coexistence among individuals with conflicting goals and interests 4.To enable the coordination on problems requiring collective action, such as the provision of public goods 5.To manage common resources, prevent negative externalities, subsidize positive externalities 6.To shelter us in uncertain futures and from unforeseen crises

4 These natural rights are:
The Founding Fathers believed we are all born with NATURAL RIGHTS (1787) These natural rights are: LIFE LIBERTY PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS But these ideas DID NOT come from our founding fathers……….

5 These ideas, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness……
These ideas, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…….that we take for granted….were taken from the writings of…….. Hobbes vs. Locke Hobbes essential concepts Concepts they share: The State of Nature Natural Rights The Social Contract Where they differ: What drives human behavior? Passion (Hobbes) Reason (Locke) What is the best form of government? Absolute monarchy (Hobbes) Constitutionalism (Locke) Locke

6 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
1. Wanted to construct a “science of politics” based on an indisputable principle 2. This principle must be based on the strongest element in human nature 3. The strongest element was passion, not reason 4. The strongest passion is fear of violent death 5. This fear gives rise to the natural right of self-preservation 6. The natural right of self-preservation is the basis of Hobbes’ thought Thomas Hobbes ( )

7 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
In a state of nature there is a war of every man against every man “No arts, no letters, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” To secure peace men make contracts establishing a sovereign power who is not subject to civil law since by its will it creates the law Of the three forms of sovereignty (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy), monarchy is the most effective in securing peace Leviathan (1651)

8 John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690)
The state of nature is not a state of perpetual war; All men are free and equal; no man by nature is sovereign over another man The law of nature, revealed by reason, governs the state of nature Natural rights include the right to Life, Liberty, and Estate (property) John Locke ( )

9 John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690)
No one ought to harm another in his life, liberty, or property; if anyone does harm another, the one he harms has the right to punish him Through a social contract, people create a government to protect their natural rights of life, liberty, and property The best form of government to protect natural rights is a government of limited powers (constitutionalism) If a government breaks the social contract, the people have the right to dissolve it Two Treatises of Civil Government (1690)

10 Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence (1776)
The founding document of the United States of America Influenced by Enlightenment political thought, especially that of John Locke States the principles upon which the new nation would be founded Jefferson’s argument for independence Natural rights A right to revolution A list of grievances Thomas Jefferson ( )

11 Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence (1776)
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve 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.” “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.” The Declaration of Independence

12 What is the purpose of government?
THE SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY The purpose of government is to protect the people and their rights (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness). If a government cannot do this, we have the right to get rid of that government. Has this ever happened? The American Revolution: We got rid of the King and Parliament because we felt as though they were not protecting our rights. Every time a majority of Americans chose not to reelect a president or senator or representative.

13 Are there different types of government?
What difference can you think of?

14 AUTHORITARIAN Use of fear and force No rule of law Rule by one or small group Unlimited power Elections offer no choice Rights are not guaranteed DEMOCRACY Limited government Rule of law is followed Rights are guaranteed Officials are elected

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