1 - Origins

Essential Question
• How did early ideas impact the
development of U.S. government?
The Principles of Government
“If liberty and equality, as is thought by
some are chiefly to be found in
democracy, they will be best attained
when all persons alike share in the
government to the utmost.”
Beginnings of Government?
• Force Theory –
government emerged
when people came
under the power of a
person or group by
Functioned as a polis
or Greek city-state
Used an Assembly of
males over 18 years
Decisions made by
majority vote
Roman Republic
• The Senate governed
the Republic
• Senators were
elected by the people
• Two consuls acted as
heads of state
Divine Right Theory
• God chose certain
people to rule by
divine right
• Examples?
Niccolo Machiavelli
• Renaissance political
“When sovereignty grew to be hereditary and
no longer elective, hereditary sovereigns
began to degenerate from their ancestors,
and quitting worthy courses, took up the
notion that princes had nothing to do but to
surpass the rest of the world in sumptuous
display and wantonness.”
Social Contract
• Proposed by Thomas
• People surrendered
to the state to
maintain order
• The state agreed to
protect its citizens
John Locke
• People are endowed
with natural rights
• Life, liberty, and
• If gov’t fails to
protect these rights,
what happens?
John Locke, Two Treatises of
“Government being for the
preservation of every man’s right
and property, by preserving him
from the violence or injury of
others, is for the good of the
John Locke, Two Treatises of
“The end of law is not to abolish or
restrain, but to preserve and
enlarge freedom. For in all states of
created beings capable of law,
where there is no law, there is no
Baron de Montesquieu
• Wrote The Spirit of
• There should be
separation of powers
in government with
checks and balances
The Spirit of Laws
“When the legislative and executive powers are
united in the same person, or in the same body
of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because
apprehensions may arise, lest the same
monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws,
to execute them in a tyrannical manner.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau
• Wrote The Social
• People agree to obey
laws in exchange for
government agreeing
to protect the rights
and equality of
William Blackstone
• Wrote Commentaries
on the Laws of England
• Detailed English
common law
• Used for the
Declaration of
Independence and the