POL113 - Chapter 3 - Lib..docx

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Political Science
Mark Lippincott

Page1Chapter 3 Liberalism and the Dilemmas of Democratic Equality in the USIntro In framing a government you must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itselfUSs framework was to develop a stable political system that fulfilled three functions1 Protect the rights of individuals and minorities2 Respond to the wishes of the majority of its citizens3 Keep itself from becoming a monarchy The American Context Born Equal The removal of overt distinctions between classes titles and so forth had produced a situation where the principle of equality among the citizens was taken to be the basic presupposition of all governmentThe American experience seemed to be the fulfillment of Lockean liberalism where all were born in the same equal and free condition It must never be forgotten that religion gave birth to AngloAmerican society In the United States religion is therefore mingled with all the habits of the nation and all of the feelings of patriotism whence it derives a peculiar forceThey separated church and state less to restrict religiosity than to enable it to flourish outside of politics in societyThe country and its political thought have been religious from day one while the state was designed to be secularAmerica was blessed with vast expanses of free land an individual could become a property owner with relative ease All of these factors helped produce the American WayParticipation Citizens had indeed participated in colonial government and felt as well that they ought to participate in making decisions that affected their livesThe concept of participation in public affairs was a basic valueThe notion that the ideas of another person ought to be tolerated even though they were deemed wrong was a major valueIn general the values held by the founders of the American political system conformed to those of the liberal traditionJames Madison and the Constitution of 1787 The Declaration of Independence of 1776 provided an eloquent statement of ideals and aspirations of a liberal democratic societyFew of the political elite were satisfied with its ability to control the state governments and many committed liberals began to despair of the possibility of having a stable enduring republic in AmericaNews of a taxpayers revolt in Massachusetts spread they endorsed the following radical leveling position The property of the US has been protected from British confiscation by the joint exertions of all Americans it therefore ought to be the common property of all Americans
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