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13 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Describe Machiavelli and his views on political theory.
-Renaissance Italian
-preferred a Repub. Form of gov’t where citizens felt a patriotic attachment to the state
-book= The Prince
-didn’t try to define a “best” form of gov’t
-separated politics from religion
-the goal of a successful ruler is to hold or increase his own power
-everything a successful ruler does is a MEANS TO AND END OF ACHIEVING POWER
-it’s okay for a ruler to overlook certain morals if it means achieving his goal.
-viewed as an “immoral book”
What is natural right/natural law?
1. There exists in the structure of the world a law that distinguishes right from wrong
2. Right is “natural”, not a mere human invention
3. Natural right isn’t determined, for any country, by its heritage, tradition, customs, or actual or “positive” laws
4. All “positive” laws may be unfair or unjust.
5. We detect unfairness of injustice of the “positive laws” by comparing them with natural law
-why we deem cannibalism is “bad”, or child labor is “unjust”
6. Natural law is not determined by the authority of any person
7. No king can make right that which is wrong
8. No people can make just that which is unjust
9. Natural Right and law, in the ultimate sense, exist outside and above all peoples
10.Natural Right and law are universal
11. A good king or a just people is a king or people whose actions correspond to an objective standard.
What was the question, and later the answer of natural law?
*Q: If we cannot trust our own positive laws, customs, leaders, or collective selves, how can we know what is naturally right? How do we discover natural law?

A: We discover natural law by reason.
-human beings are rational animals
-all human beings have the potential for the same amount of reason
*Made international relations, world progress seem more viable
What were society's reactions of natural right/law?
-some thought that natural law represented the law of God
-secular view= natural law exists even without a God—it exists by reason only
-1690: a group of Jesuit theologians are condemned by the pope for believing this more secular view
How did natural law influence international law, what did Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf have to do with it?
-1625: Hugo Grotius publishes Law of War and Peace
-1672: Samuel Pufendorf publishes Law of Nature and of Nations
-Sovereign states should work together for the common good
-There is a “community of nations”
-In the absence of a higher international power, all nations are still subordinate to natural reason and justice.
-certain new doctrines= freedom of the seas, immunity of ambassadors
-influences great international peace agreements such as Westphalia, Utrecht, etc.
Explain the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.
-very knowledgeable in science
-materialistic/atheistic thinker
-didn’t like disorder/violence of English 1640’s civil war, unstable 1650s republic
-influenced him to believe that humans have no capacity for self-government
-low opinion of human nature
-people “in the state of nature”: “life in the state of natural is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”
-People fear each other, so they put their freedom in the hands of a ruler to obtain order—relation to natural law**
-there exists a “contract” between a ruler and his people
-A ruler must have absolute power to maintain order
-No person can question the power of the leader…this is dangerous and will lead to chaos
-Government must be a LEVIATHAN (biblical monster)
-1651: Hobbes publishes his main book, called Leviathan
-Absolutism will produce security and peace—there will be no need for violence
-Absolute power depends on a free and rational agreement which was accepted by the people (**relation to natural law!)
*In the end, Hobbes’ philosophy represented natural law b/c it said that absolute power was a means to promote individual welfare, a means for people to realize natural law.
What was Hobbes' influence on society?
-Hobbes was the leading secular supporter of absolutism
-accustomed political thinkers to the use of purely natural arguments
-all gov’t theorists after Hobbes viewed gov’t as a device created by human purpose, not religious purpose
-In England, Hobbes was not popular
-England did not support his views of absolutism!
-Absolutist countries secretly supported his views, but couldn’t openly accept them because they were very secular.—absolutist gov’ts still ran b/c of the “divine right of kings”
What were the similarities b/w Hobbes and Locke?
1. Good government is an expedient of human purpose, neither provided by divine Providence nor inherited by a national tradition.
2. Government is based on a contract b/w authority and the people
What was Locke's main political theory?
-1680: wrote Two Treatises of Government
-pro-parliament against the King
1. Genial view of human nature
2. moderate religion is good
3. people learn from experience…education= enlightenment
4. People in the “state of nature” are reasonable, well disposed, willing to get along w/ one another
**Natural law/right relation: People have a moral sense independent from government, they possess by nature certain rights apart from the state: LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PROPERTY.
What were Locke's views on the right of property?
-heavy emphasis on this one right
-emphasis is seen as an expression of the landed aristocracy of England
-Locke believed that individuals in the “state of nature” coucln’t win respect for their individual, natural rights (i.E. owning property). So…they:
a) agree to set up a gov’t to enforce observance of the rights of all
-Gov’t is then set up by a contract
-*This contract is not unconditional; like Hobbes believed it to be. For the contract to work, this must happen:
1. Be reasonable and rational (the people must)
-Liberty is not an anarchy of undisciplined will, it is the freedom to act without compulsion by another. Only rational/reasonable people can be truly free. All adult humans have the potential to be rational thinkers! All adult humans should therefore be free!
2. The gov’t cannot threaten the natural rights of the people
-If the gov’t does so, then the people have the right to overthrow this gov’t.
*The right to rebel is not as dangerous as having a gov’t that denies natural rights.
What were Locke's influence on the American colonies?
-greatest place of influence
-Declaration of Independence/Constitution are in some parts his language word-for-word
What was Locke's influence on slavery and racism?
-believed that slaves were a legit form of private property
-owned shares of slave companies
-When Locke’s ideas were being popularized, people had to find ways to justify slavery. If all men had natural rights, then why didn’t slaves?
-So developed new racist views of slaves as a different race, inhuman, etc.
What was Locke's influence on the 1688 english Rev?
-argued Parliament had been right to eject James II
-put the whole affair on the level of reason, natural right, human nature
-gave the affair meaning for the people who had no real patriotism, etc.
-made the English rev. a sign of progress rather than reaction
-checked the prestige of absolutism
-gave a new prestige to constitutional principles
-secular thinking helped enforce these ideas