This theory bears a lot of significance with regard to our political system and the role of government. The American political system was largely founded on the philosophical writings of John Locke. The assumption that much of his political philosophy was founded on, and in turn our governmental system, was that human nature is moral and virtuous. In his book The Second Treatise of Civil Government he speaks of the actions of men saying that “in transgressing the law of nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity, which is what measure God has set to the actions of men, for their mutual security.” (Locke Sec. 8) Here Locke establishes that it is only natural and reasonable for a man to follow the laws of nature. He alludes to the Bible in which God, as the creator of men, endowed them with this nature of “reason and common equity.” (Locke Sec. 8) Based off of this theory a democratic republic was formed in the United States; it was a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people,’ but because the duty of ruling was left to the majority, it required that citizens act not only for their own self-interest, but that they work together, looking beyond their own instinctive desires accepting compromise in order to bring about the greater good. Without the civil participation of its citizens a democracy simply couldn’t survive. This assumption that Locke made about the nature of being willing and able to overcome their own base desires and choose in favor of “reason and common equity” was foundational to the establishment of our nation’s government.
This theory stood in contrast, however, to that of his predecessor, political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. He asserted th...
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... but one that must be understood. Through his several characters, on different levels of morality and corresponding level of humanity, he also makes it clear what human nature is and that it is very distinct from the animalistic instincts that all mankind also possess. When examined in the light of political implications, it casts a profound light on the role of government in a democratic society. Each must be allowed an encouraged to embrace his human nature with the opportunity to choose the good.
Word Count: 2,543
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. New York City: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2009. Print.
Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government. 1690
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. 1651
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