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Influential Philosophers that influenced American Government.

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Presentation on theme: "Influential Philosophers that influenced American Government."— Presentation transcript:

1 Influential Philosophers that influenced American Government

2 Ancient Greek Influence

3 Plato (Greece B.C.) Philosopher who uses chief characters, like Socrates, to teach the Platonic dialogues. Aims of Plato were to try and teach the awakening of his fellow man and attempt to guide them towards the good life. Plato’s most used works are Republic, Statesman, and the Laws. Republic: What is the nature of justice? Republic: What is the nature of justice?

4 Aristotle (Greece B.C.) Politics and ethics should be is found to be natural therefore right. Politics and ethics should be is found to be natural therefore right. Man is by nature a political animal. Man is by nature a political animal. The state can be organized in several ways. The state can be organized in several ways. Man should practice morality and virtue in everything one does: practice good and honorable behavior in everyday life; courage, temperance, generosity, justice; the habit of lying with create unhappiness. Man should practice morality and virtue in everything one does: practice good and honorable behavior in everyday life; courage, temperance, generosity, justice; the habit of lying with create unhappiness.

5 Roman Influence

6 Marcus Tullius Cicero (Rome B.C.) Cicero became Rome’s most influential leader. Compromise necessary to achieve success in business and politics. What is the only “true” law? Cicero became a martyr in the cause of limited government. Cicero became Rome’s most influential leader. Compromise necessary to achieve success in business and politics. What is the only “true” law? Cicero became a martyr in the cause of limited government.

7 St. Augustine (Rome ) First author to suggest that virtue and religion be a central element to civil society. First author to suggest that virtue and religion be a central element to civil society. His philosophy was a fusion of classic philosophy and the Bible. His philosophy was a fusion of classic philosophy and the Bible. Goal was to have a state with moral integrity. Goal was to have a state with moral integrity. His highest principles are drawn not from reason but from Sacred Scripture. His highest principles are drawn not from reason but from Sacred Scripture.

8 Leading European Political Thinkers

9 Blackstone (England ) an English jurist and professor who produced the historical and analytic treatise on the common law called Commentaries on the Laws of England; an important source on classical views of the common law and its principles. Blackstone wrote his books on common law shortly before the United States Constitution was written. Many terms and phrases used by the framers were derived from Blackstone's works. But Blackstone's chief contribution was to create a succinct, readable, and above all handy epitome of the common law tradition. Blackstone's text answered an urgent need in the developing United States. Here the common law tradition was being spread into frontier areas, but it was not feasible for lawyers and judges to carry around the large libraries that contained the common law precedents. The four volumes of Blackstone put the gist of that tradition in portable form. Blackstone's Whiggish but conservative vision of English law as a force to protect people, their liberty, and their property, had a deep impact on the ideologies that were cited in support of the American Revolution, and ultimately, the United States Constitution. an English jurist and professor who produced the historical and analytic treatise on the common law called Commentaries on the Laws of England; an important source on classical views of the common law and its principles. Blackstone wrote his books on common law shortly before the United States Constitution was written. Many terms and phrases used by the framers were derived from Blackstone's works. But Blackstone's chief contribution was to create a succinct, readable, and above all handy epitome of the common law tradition. Blackstone's text answered an urgent need in the developing United States. Here the common law tradition was being spread into frontier areas, but it was not feasible for lawyers and judges to carry around the large libraries that contained the common law precedents. The four volumes of Blackstone put the gist of that tradition in portable form. Blackstone's Whiggish but conservative vision of English law as a force to protect people, their liberty, and their property, had a deep impact on the ideologies that were cited in support of the American Revolution, and ultimately, the United States Constitution.Englishjuristcommon lawCommentaries on the Laws of EnglandUnited States ConstitutionUnited States lawyersjudgesprecedentsWhiggish conservativeliberty ideologies American Revolution United States ConstitutionEnglishjuristcommon lawCommentaries on the Laws of EnglandUnited States ConstitutionUnited States lawyersjudgesprecedentsWhiggish conservativeliberty ideologies American Revolution United States Constitution

10 Thomas Hobbes (England ) The Theory of the State of Nature: passion, desire, fear, all men are equal The Theory of the State of Nature: passion, desire, fear, all men are equal The Social Contract: self-preservation, securing the way to future desires, popular sovereignty, voting The Social Contract: self-preservation, securing the way to future desires, popular sovereignty, voting

11 John Locke(England ) Principle of Human Freedom Principle of Human Freedom All men are born free. All men are born free. All government is limited in its powers and exists only be the consent of the governed. All government is limited in its powers and exists only be the consent of the governed. Refuted the principle of divine right. Refuted the principle of divine right. State of nature differs from Hobbes. State of nature differs from Hobbes.

12 Montesquieu (France ) Separation of powers What is law defined by Montesquieu? What were men like before there were human laws, and why did such laws arise?

13 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (France ) Leviathan Social Contract Disagrees and Agrees with John Locke over natural rights, civil society, and property rights.

14 Niccolo Machiavelli (Italy ) Best known for his Il Principe was the founder of realist political philosophy, advocated republican government, citizen armies, division of power, protection of personal property, and restraint of government expenditure as being necessary to the liberties of a republic. He wrote extensively on the need for individual initiative - virtu - as an essential characteristic of stable government. He argued that liberty was the central good which government should protect, and that "good people" would make good laws, where as people who had lost their virtu could maintain their liberties only with difficulty. Best known for his Il Principe was the founder of realist political philosophy, advocated republican government, citizen armies, division of power, protection of personal property, and restraint of government expenditure as being necessary to the liberties of a republic. He wrote extensively on the need for individual initiative - virtu - as an essential characteristic of stable government. He argued that liberty was the central good which government should protect, and that "good people" would make good laws, where as people who had lost their virtu could maintain their liberties only with difficulty.


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