The Mindset of the American Founding
Up and down the coast of America a brand new era was stirring. There were ideals that were prevalent throughout the new territories that would soon come into the form of a stated government. The men at this time felt obliged to lay before mankind their admission of certain fundamental truths. These men recognized as well as voiced that the principles at hand, in and of themselves, were not original. What was original was the way in which they were about to be applied to human nature and government. This is what would make them, the government and the time revolutionary. Jefferson tells us through a letter written to Henry Lee on May 8, 1825, that, “All American Whigs thought alike on these subjects.” These subjects included issues such as: equality, state of nature, government by consent, divine right of kings, absolute monarchy, tyranny, majority rule, representation, republicanism, liberty, law of nature, property, social compact, natural rights, civil rig!
Equality was an idea that was not unfamiliar to the men who founded this country. They had been given equality by the king in England through what became known as the “Great Charter.” T
Where that much is true, the founders also recognized the liberty of choice that must be retained among citizens of just government. The founders would later lay the framework for America in obviously Lockian terms. This seed naturally began to grow and expand by the mechanism of reason into such ideas about legitimate government and, consequently, liberties that the governed retained within that government. Americans looked at history and recognized the pattern of this reality. This being the case, then all must unanimously give their consent to be ruled not by one, but by the majority. These are 1) Ambition, 2) Personal Interest, and 3) Desire to ensure the public good. James Otis states in The Rights of the British colonies Asserted and Proved, that no man has the right to govern another without consent of the governed because God is the only monarch in the universe, 8220;who has a clear and indisputable right to absolute power; because he is the only ONE who is omniscient as well as omnipotent (142). The Foundation for legitimate government, then, is the consent of those who enter in order to preserve thes!e fundamental liberties; this is also known as Social Compact. Certain ideals on the subject of equality that were held by the founders were pulled from revolutionary thinkers of that time. All right therefore in any to rule over others, must originate from those they rule over, and be granted by them (156). This then became a charter that all succeeding Englishmen would look toward as a standard. Americans at the time of the founding would have almost unanimously conferred on the discussions of the preceding principles. James Madison explains the above statements about Just Democratic government in his Vices of the Political System of the United States as well as in the Federalist 10. The founders realized that men are not endowed with the right of equal status by another of the same status, but rather by a creator which then equalizes all men everywhere at all times. 8221; In Virginia8217;s Declaration of Rights and Constitution in 1776 it is written,That all men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely the enjoyment of life and liberty, which means the acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety (188).