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The origins of the philosophy which informed and influenced the founding of the American republic lies with the 17th century English thinker and proponent of classical liberalism, John Locke. Locke, among other things, extolled the virtue of property. Property bound men…
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Download file to see previous pages The word “republic” is the combination of two Latin words, res meaning “thing” and publica meaning “public.” A republic is a form of government whose sole ‘owner’ is the people who form it.
Practically speaking, a republic is a political arrangement which does not have a monarch and which has governmental institutions which represent and are accountable to the people. A republic calls upon its citizens to perform duties to it like defense, electoral participation, obedience to the law, and loyalty to its constitution. A republic envisions a society of property-owning men for whom freedom and the pursuit of happiness are defining principles, provided those freedoms and pursuits do not infringe upon those of another. In a republic every citizen enjoys political equality before the law. There are no recognized aristocracies, no ruling classes, and no rights of birth. The government only has the right to exercise those powers which have been specifically delegated to it. By treating each of its citizens equally and by giving to them voice in government, a republic seeks to rise above the tyranny, despotism, corruption, and unaccountability which were so much a feature of medieval Europe. Government, in Lockean terms, is a necessary evil which must be limited and accountable in order to be just. It is that justice which the American republic has ever sought uphold.
America of the 1780’s was one of economic and political turmoil. Because the government of the Articles of Confederation held no national powers of taxation, it could not fund its affairs without the consent of all the states, a result which was hard to come by. Currency and inflation were also serious issues for the newly founded American Confederation. A national government, on the other hand, would provide one, stable currency. In the 1780’s many states faced bankruptcy. As well, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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