POLS 1000 Lecture 7: POLS 1000 - Lecture Week 7
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October 24, 2018
POLS 1000 Introduction to Politics – Lecture Week 7
Review on Last Week
• After the fall of Athens, the notions of isonomy and equality will reappear in the western world
during the Renaissance.
o The Renaissance is a historical moment based upon the rediscovery of Athens.
• Two city republics – Venice & Florence
o Manin will consider the political analysis of these two will allow us to understand what
kind of democracy will appear
o Florence – vibrant and tumultuous political life
▪ Conflict-ridden city will also be highly divided by different social classes that
will create a great political antagonism.
▪ Republic spirit behind Florence.
▪ In order to neutralize the offset of these conflicts, Florentines will have to create
mechanisms to allow for conflict to manifest itself and stop conflict from
becoming a civil war.
▪ Mechanisms seen in Athens as well as a new mechanism
• Similar to Athens: lot system, rotation of public office holder.
• New method: scrutiny
▪ Constitutional debates that occur in Florence, the conclusion was that the
recourse to elections as a way of designating public office holders would lead to
a narrow form of government. Recourse to lottery would allow to a large form of
▪ Florentines understood that there was something about elections that lead to an
• The best being designated to office and the best in this case are the few.
▪ Because of its use of scrutiny, because of its use to recourse for the lottery
system, Manin concludes that Florence will manage to reactivate the principle of
• Equality before the law and equal participation in the law.
o Venice – true to its name; The Most Serene Republic of Venice
▪ Its political life will be quiet and peaceful.
▪ Venice will have recourse to elections and these elections will inevitably return
the same people or the same families to public office.
▪ The monopolization of these same people or same families will give Venice a
peaceful political life but it will also not allow Venice to have a fair political life.
Modern Democracy: Representative Government
• The major revolutions of modernity, the three major laboratories of the Western World: Great
Britain, USA, and France
o It is within these three countries where the theoretical and practical implementation of
representative government will occur.
• What are the historical circumstances that will allow the emergence of representative
o Democracy will not emerge out of nothingness.
• English Revolution of 1640, American Revolution 1776, French Revolution 1789
o These are the three historical moments that will contribute to representative government.
• When democracy reemerges thanks to these three revolutionary moments, it will not have
recourse in the lot system.
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October 24, 2018
• It will choose instead the electoral system, the system that provided a narrow form of government
in Venice and the system that was used to designate a hundred public office holders in Athens.
▪ We have to look at the revolutionary origins of representative government.
▪ Each of these historical moments will frame the terms of the debate surrounding
▪ The regime we live in and that affords us liberties and certain kinds of equalities
has its origins in these three evolutionary moments.
▪ All three will put consent at the core of political legitimacy.
▪ For the government to exercise legitimate power it will need the consent of the
• The English Revolution is also known as the English Civil War and also the Puritan Revolt.
• This revolt will be led by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1688) and it will be the beginning of a civil
war in England.
• This Puritan revolt is a complex religious conflict that will pit Catholics vs. Protestants and
Anglicans vs. Puritans.
o Puritan – English Calvinists; followers of theologian John Calvin.
• These puritans sought to get rid of the Catholic influences that remained in the Church of
England. They wanted to purify that religion from its Catholic origins.
• At a political level, the puritan revolt was also driven by a strong disapproval of the Kings’
• Charles the First; ruled like an absolute monarch
o Absolute monarch; a monarch that does not share power, holds power absolutely.
o In order to rule absolutely, he needed to claim that his power came from God
o The right he had to rule comes from God.
▪ The Divine Right theory of Kingship
• According to this divine right theory of kingship meant that he was above the laws. No law
created by a mere mortal could regulate or limit his mere rule.
o His rule was above the common laws.
o This will make him a very unpopular king.
o This will lead to conflict with parliament.
o It is this conflict with parliament and king that leads the way for this puritan revolt to
• For the puritans, the problem with this divine right theory of kingship is that it destroys any
appeal to the law.
o Because it destroys and erodes appeals to the law, the divine right theory of kingship
could also erode property rights. It may also erode personal or individual rights.
o This divine right theory of kingship is dangerous for personal rights and property rights.
• For the puritans, it was necessary to reduce the scope of the king’s powers by making them less
• In the ensuing conflict, king Charles will not be open to compromise.
o Parliament cannot control the army.
o January 1642 - he will infamously jail opposition leaders in parliament or at least attempt
to do so.
• 1645 – Parliament will create its own army and this army will be called the New Model Army
o The new army will be led in part by Cromwell and it will give the revolt the military
force that it needed to defeat the kings’ troops.
• The high point of the revolt is the execution of the king.
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