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The Roots of American Democracy

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1 The Roots of American Democracy
Learning Target: I can explain how Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman and English parliamentary traditions helped to shape American democracy. (HSS 8.1.4)

2 Judeo-Christian Tradition
Judeo-Christian tradition is made up of the moral and spiritual ideas of two religions: Judaism and Christianity. Judaism is the faith of the ancient Hebrews (later called Jews.) Began in Middle East approx years ago Monotheistic (belief in only ONE god) Holy book includes the Ten Commandments

3 Judeo-Christian Tradition
Christianity emerged from Jewish tradition about years ago. Christianity was inspired by the life and teachings of a Jew named Jesus. (Christians believe Jesus is the son of God.) It began during the Roman Empire. Christians were originally persecuted by the Romans, but Christianity became the official Roman religion around 400 A.D. It includes some Jewish beliefs: Monotheism Ten Commandments Emphasis on love, mercy and forgiveness

4 Judeo-Christian Influence
Judeo-Christian ideas about justice, morality and equality influenced American thought. The Hebrews taught that even the most powerful ruler was subject to God’s law. (Remember, that some other groups believed their rulers were above the law or even gods themselves.) A basic belief of Christianity is that anyone, rich or poor, could achieve salvation, or everlasting life. It meant that, in the eyes of God, all people were equal – not just the rich and powerful but also slaves and the poor.

5 Greco-Roman Tradition
Greco-Roman tradition includes ideas from two ancient civilizations : Greece and Rome. Many valuable ideas about government came from the Greek city-state of Athens. Athens was the first city-state to adopt direct democracy. (Direct democracy allows an assembly of ordinary citizens to make decisions.) Athenians believed that citizens have responsibilities. One important duty of Athenians was to serve on juries. (A jury is a panel of citizens who make judgments in a trial.)

6 Greco-Roman Tradition
Other valuable ideas about government come from ancient Rome. In 509 B.C., Romans threw out their king and set up a republic. A republic is a government in which the people choose representatives who govern in their name. In Rome, two elected groups of made the laws. They were called the Senate and the Assembly. The Romans also believed that people accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty.

7 Greco-Roman Influence
The following is a list of American beliefs borrowed from the ancient Greeks and Romans: Government gets its power from the people (this is called popular sovereignty) Citizens have responsibilities Trial by jury is a right People should elect representatives to make laws Accused people are innocent until proven guilty

8 English Parliamentary Tradition
The American colonists were greatly influenced by three important English ideas about government: the Magna Carta, Parliament and the English Bill of Rights. In 1215 A.D., English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta under threat of revolt. It greatly limited the king’s power and guaranteed rights to the nobles: the king must obey the law right of Habeas Corpus (must have cause for imprisonment) right to a jury trial the king must consult nobles before raising taxes

9 English Parliamentary Tradition
Under the Magna Carta, a council of nobles was created to advise the king. This council later became known as Parliament. Parliament is a group of people who have the power to make laws. The English Parliament is made up of two houses. After the Glorious Revolution in 1688, the English Parliament created a written list of guaranteed freedoms that the government promised to protect. This list is called the English Bill of Rights. It includes ideas like trial by jury and habeas corpus.

10 English Parliamentary Influence
The following is a list of American beliefs borrowed from English tradition: No one (even the ruler) is above the law Habeas corpus Trial by jury is a right People must be consulted before raising taxes People should elect representatives to make laws Two house legislature Government should guarantee freedoms

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