Presentation on theme: "The American founders studied the governments of ancient Greece and Rome. They also adopted much from their “mother” country, England."— Presentation transcript:
The American founders studied the governments of ancient Greece and Rome. They also adopted much from their “mother” country, England
Aristotle A philosopher and scholar of ancient Greece, studied the polis, or Greek city- state. He first used the terms autocracy, oligarchy, and democracy.
An autocracy “auto” means “self” so autocracy is rule by one person. Different types of autocracies can be dictatorships, or monarchies. Not all monarchies are the same, however. There are absolute monarchs and constitutional monarchs.
Oligarchy Oligarchy means rule by the few. Sometimes the “few” are the rich, or a military group, or a small group, like the communist party in China. Sometimes these governments will claim to rule for the people But usually they put forth only one candidate, and few dare to oppose their policies.
Democracy “Demos” means “people, ” or rule by the people The Greeks practiced direct democracy, where each person who was qualified to vote would meet, discuss and vote on issues. However: The Greeks limited who could vote. Only male citizens could vote Foreigners, slaves and women could not.
The Romans The Romans gave us representative government, where the people elect representatives to vote for them It still assumes that the people have ultimate power and responsibility.
The English Influence -- The Magna Carta In 1215 King John of England was forced to sign the “Great Charter” that limited the rights of the king. It protected people from unjust punishments and the loss of life, liberty and property.
English Bill of Rights In 1688 Parliament passed a documents setting clear limits on what a monarch could and could not do. This said a ruler could only rule by the consent of the people It also said that a ruler must have parliaments permission to suspend laws, levy taxes, or maintain an army. People had the right to a speedy trial by a jury of their peers. And the people should not be subject to cruel and unusual punishments.
The English Thinkers Thomas Hobbes –Hobbes came up with the idea that a government is a social contract where the “cruel, brutish state of nature is surrendered to the state to maintain order.
John Locke John Locke came up with the idea that man was endowed with the right to life, liberty, and property (sound familiar?). And if a ruler failed to preserve the rights of the people, the people had a right to break their contract.
Other Europeans also influenced the Americans… Montesquieu was a Frenchman who proposed dividing political authority into 3 parts: an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch.
Jean Jacque Rousseau Rousseau contributed greatly to the movement in Western Europe for individual freedom and against the absolutism of church and state.