Rousseau Influence On American Government

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The authors of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the United States Constitution pulled from many different sources during the infancy of these invaluable documents. They used pieces such as Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, Rousseau’s Of The Social Contract, and Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws as inspiration for America’s fundamental government. Each of these influential political philosophers were instrumental in making our government what it is today. Hobbes brought the ideas of natural equality, a strong, powerful government, and the principle that governments must be able to protect the people to American political philosophy. Locke added that…show more content…
Rousseau states “ Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains” and “A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.” Rousseau’s impacts on American government include his position that people are what make a nation. Buildings and seats do not decide whether or not one votes, that is the role of people. What Rousseau means by bring the people into chaos is that the people must think for themselves and not just let those who are deemed more educated decide for them. As America is a Democratic Republic, the root word democracy is used, which means that the majority of the country’s wishes must be thought of and respected. He also believes that while an individual 's ideas must be recognized, they must stand down to ensure the majority 's vote is respected. This is shown in the way we vote, and the way that congress passes bills. Americans have a voice, but when the majority speaks, it is done. While the representation of the people is appreciated, the appointed representative must make sure that his ideas are in alignment with those whom he represents. When one who is placed in a position of authority over a select group of people does not respect their will, he loses his title of representative and just becomes one and of…show more content…
Montesquieu states “government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another”. From this doctrine American Political Philosophers derived the separation of powers into the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches. Montesquieu’s presentation of the branches of government were adopted into American political documents upon their creation. The idea that there wasn’t one governing body, but three was unheard of. Most occupants of the new “America” came from England a country ruled by a King. Therefore making it a Monarchy where a single family is seen as divine and ordained by God to be the ruler over that country. The power is passed down generation to generation and each firstborn son is then placed in power after his father. So, the idea of having a government that does not just depend on one family, but many different persons to run it was not a common philosophy. But, the writers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights thought that this would be a new and honorable way to run their fledgling country. So thus, the Democratic Republic of the United States was born. Designating the three branches with their own roles in society guaranteed that no one branch would have more power that the others, but it would just have different powers. The three branches are like a triangle. They balance eachother out and support each
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