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For my AP Government class final, we have to do a four-minute speech and question-and-answer session about the foundations of the Constitution.

My group's question is:
How were the Founders' views about government influenced both by classical republicans and the natural rights philosophers?
-Is classical republican philosophy relevant today? How?

I'm working on the classical republicans bit. I have a general definition, but I have to have to cite a lot of sources and specific philosophers, such as Cicero, so I thought I'd ask around here.

This is what I've got so far, in a much-shortened version:
Classical republicanism, also known as civic humanism, is an early theory of democracy that holds that the best kind of government is one that promotes the "common good" and the welfare of an entire society. Its characteristics include civic virtue, moral education, and small, uniform communities.
This philosophy was combined with the natural rights philosophy in the creation of the Constitution. Madison stated in the Federalist Papers (Federalist 51?...) that people naturally work for their own self-interests, but that this could simultaneously benefit society.
Some tenets of classical republicanism that are still seen today are institutions such as the draft.
Omnileech's avatar

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Well, you're looking at positive liberty and I expect you'll want Adams and Hamilton as the best examples of that.

I expect Hobbes would be the influence on those guys who see government as a positive good.
The Master Moo's avatar

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Quote:
Classical republicanism, also known as civic humanism, is an early theory of democracy that holds that the best kind of government is one that promotes the "common good" and the welfare of an entire society. Its characteristics include civic virtue, moral education, and small, uniform communities.
This philosophy was combined with the natural rights philosophy in the creation of the Constitution. Madison stated in the Federalist Papers (Federalist 51?...) that people naturally work for their own self-interests, but that this could simultaneously benefit society.
Some tenets of classical republicanism that are still seen today are institutions such as the draft.


Hmm, thats SOMEWHAT true, but its a little skewed. For example Classical Republicanism is seen today in the fact that our entire government is about "Classical Republicanism". It had nothing to do with political parties, or petty politics, but it was more of a way of thought.

There is a little bit of a problem here:

Quote:
Classical republicanism, also known as civic humanism, is an early theory of democracy that holds that the best kind of government is one that promotes the "common good" and the welfare of an entire society


That can pretty much describe any political ideology. A government pretty much promotes common good and the welfare of society, even communism, socialism, monarchy, fascism, etc. . .

Quote:
Madison stated in the Federalist Papers (Federalist 51?...) that people naturally work for their own self-interests, but that this could simultaneously benefit society.


Thats pretty much the basics of Classical Republicanism, it holds more to the fact that Government is a necessary evil and that you need seperate systems to keep them from usurping power, and to keep them serving their community rather than letting them have the reigns and keeping their power.


Theres one more problem here:

Quote:
Its characteristics include civic virtue, moral education, and small, uniform communities.


That has nothing to do with Classical Republicanism, I don't know where you got that information.


Quote:
Some tenets of classical republicanism that are still seen today are institutions such as the draft.


Just as a side note: Our Constitution and our entire Government was based upon Classical Republicanism.


I can't really tell you more than that, because you need to do some research yourself smile but I can give you some good sources. For books you might want to check out: The Real George Washington, The Real Thomas Jefferson (The founder of the Democratic-Republicans) and The Real Benjamin Franklin. Those are all really big heavy reading books, so if you read one of them I advise just to skim through it for important details for your report, but they are good reading. Another good book is: The 5000 Year Leap, its about the principles of the founding of America, and what our founding fathers believed, and it has a gold mine of good quotes.

You might also look up some information on Montesquieu, Blackstone, and John Locke, as they were some of the more brilliant minds discovering this way of thought.
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Omnileech
Well, you're looking at positive liberty and I expect you'll want Adams and Hamilton as the best examples of that.

I expect Hobbes would be the influence on those guys who see government as a positive good.


Wasn't Hobbes the bright fellow who assumes we'd all fall into chaos if...oh right, now I remember why government liked him.
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HAHA Thanks for the help on my my opening statement! p.s you might want to include examples of what everything means

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