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POLC73H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Scientific Socialism, Enclosure, Constitution Of The United Kingdom

Political Science
Course Code
Margaret Kohn
Study Guide

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Final Exam Study Guide: POLC73
Short Answers/ Questions/ Identifications. On the exam you will be asked to answer 10 out
of 11 (for quotes, please identify the author and explain the significance of the quote).
- “We are resolved to keep an established church, an established monarchy, an established
aristocracy, and an established democracy…”
o Author: Edmund Burke (Reflections of the French Revolution)
o Significance: Breaking up the bod politic would destroy a neat, definable order
and disrupt the essential balance of society. Democracy on its own was not to be
recommended as the Greeks had correctly advised that democracy has many
resemblances to tyranny. France was pursuing an inappropriate path and would be
better off to import British political practices than to export a revolutionary
tendency. Burke says “I wish my countrymen rather to recommend to our
neighbors, the example of the British constitution, than to take models from them
for the improvement of our own”
- “The state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in
a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco or some other such low concern…”
o Author: Edmund Burke (Reflections on the French Revolution)
o Significance: Burke thinks that the contract that binds us to the state is a
“partnership in every virtue and all perfection” across many generations; it cannot
be considered a course of human unity. “Social contract” is a partnership between
the living, the dead and the yet to be born. It is not merely a political contract; it
legitimized no particular social order, but denies legitimacy to any order that
disregards its specific place in the continuum that links it with it its origin.
- What is Burke’s view of Natural rights?
o Burke‟s says that Natural Rights are “Metaphysic” and did not necessarily believe
in them
o He believes that Natural Rights are “pretended rights” and “extremes” that are
morally and politically false
o Against the doctrine of “natural rights” -- what Burke also refers to as “the rights
of man” -- “there can be no prescription; against these no agreement is binding;
these admit no temperament, and no compromise; anything withheld from their
full demand is so much fraud and injustice.”
- What is Metaphysical Abstraction? (502) Why does Burke object to it?

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o Metaphysical Abstraction is that idea that freedom and equality is not good in
reality. He is against this because he worries about the practical application of
these activities.
o If you are looking at freedom as an abstract, then you‟d have to look at releasing
prisoners from prison or mental people from asylums.
o Burke objects to it because he thinks we should view things in context, not in
- What is the main difference between the liberty of the ancients and the liberty of the
moderns, according to Constant?
o The main difference between the liberty of the Ancients and the Moderns is their
role in political participation.
o Ancients were not as focused on personal independence like the Moderns were,
they did not put large importance on expression of opinion, economic activity or
o Ancient Liberty includes:
Active political participation
Examples of Ancient Liberty: deliberation, participation in decision
o Modern Liberty includes:
Freedom from government interference
Separation of state and society
Examples of Modern Liberty: free speech, freedom to assemble, freedom
of movement, freedom to own property, freedom to influence government
- Why does Constant think that “Commerce inspires in men a keen love of individual
o Constant thinks this because commerce is a way for men to make their own
money and not have to work for someone else or rely on someone else to get
things done. In a sense they are their own individual „bosses‟, who are only
occupied with their own investments and the rewards that from these investments
o Commerce allows men to see to their own individual needs instead of having to
rely on someone else (when outsiders get involved it is not in the investors best
o When they are doing it for themselves they are doing it in the best way possible
for their own personal gain, in the most cost efficient way because it directly
affects them. When the government gets involved and does business for people

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they are not necessarily the priority, or directly affected so the job is not as well
o Men realize that the individual route is better and thus develop a “keen love” for
the independence as opposed to the government interference
- The Harm Principle
o J.S Mill introduces the Harm Principle in “On Liberty”
o It is the belief that the only time when an individual‟s freedom may be limited is
when that person harms or is at risk of harming others
o “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any
member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others”
- Name one of the hard cases that Mill discusses in On Liberty and explain how he resolves
it. What do we learn about the harm principle?
1) If a person wants to cross a bridge which is unsafe, he can only be warned,
since he chooses what he wants to do. He could be turned back if there was no
chance to warn that person and Mill argues that liberty consists of doing what
one desires, and one would not desire to fall in the river. Exception include
children, delirious persons, or someone who is unable to use their full faculty
2) Mill also discusses a poison sale and if it is legal. It is legal to sell poison/
drugs and it is legal to ban people from buying it. People, however, should be
warned of the possible consequences. To avoid the use of poison/drugs
harming others, Mill proposes to use the legal system to record the data of the
person buy it and the purpose that he is buying it for, including the date and
time it was purchased. Presence of a third party is possible.
o Both of these cases demonstrate Mills focus on individualism, which stems from
the harm principle. In the case of the bridge, a person is not stopped since he has a
right to act the way he wants and he does not harm anyone else by doing so. In the
case of the poison/drugs, Mill suggests a legal action of recording data in order to
avoid the use of the poison being used to harm others.
- Rule Utilitarianism
o Utilitarian‟s believe that actions are right when they promote happiness (pleasure
and the absence of pain). Actions are measured by the level of pleasure they
o J.S Mill believed that not all pleasures were the same. They are higher and lower
qualities, and long term and short term pleasures.
o Rule Utilitarianism: “If everyone acted this way, how would the world turn out?”
- What are Mill’s three main arguments in favor of free speech?
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