Modern Political Thought Notes From 3/18/16
Modern Political Thought Notes From 3/18/16 POLS 202
SUNY College at Oneonta
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Andrew Edwards on Sunday March 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 202 at SUNY College at Oneonta taught by Professor Janet Day in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Modern Political Theory in Political Science at SUNY College at Oneonta.
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Date Created: 03/20/16
Modern Political Thought Most Recent Notes European Enlightenment This was a time of scientific advancement. The Catholic Church was challenged by historically based theories. There ended up being more confidence in men’s rationality. Political life was questioned openly. Thomas Hobbes He supported the separation of the state and religion. He believed that every event is a type of motion. He believed that an absolute sovereign was necessary. What motivates people and their emotions causes events to happen. He thought that the aim of social contract was not about fairness and justice but that the aim was peace and stability. He believed humans were equal in intelligence Trade, philosophy, and the arts can exist due to stability and peace. Causes and effects need to be determined. Social life is created by how people react to people react to what happens in society. John Locke He supported the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which resulted in the bloodless overthrow of King James II and the end of absolute monarchy in England. He supported the idea of constitutional monarchy. He thought natural rights should be protected from infringement. He supported the right to revolution. The state is dissolved after revolution but the citizens can rebuild it afterwards. He believed there should be a system of checks and balances. Powers of government should be limited. Moral law was around before the state. God is the author of manmade law. Officials should be held accountable by citizens through voting. Violation of the rights of the people and severe failures by the government justify revolution. Jean Jacques Rousseau People are naturally good. Society oppresses people. He emphasized a group perspective of society. People are naturally good in the state of nature but when the social contract is forced upon people, life becomes negative. He values tradition more than innovation. He believes in the idea of collective rationality. French Revolution France had a hereditary monarch. Capitalism was spreading and international trade relations were expanding, There was a middle class of merchants but nobles were more advantaged. There was a lack of social mobility. There were a lot of antiMonarchist views. A financial crisis haunted Louis XVI’s administration. The Estate General met in 1789 after not meeting for 11 years in order to solve problems. Many political reforms occurred but there was still much violence used by the elites. In Response to French Revolution Edmund Burke He believed society was artificial. Practical experiences, culture, religion, and history accumulate over time. Rationality does not exist on its own. He believed change should happen slowly over time so he disagreed with the French Revolution. During the French Revolution, institutions were torn down rather than careful reform being attempted. He believed in convention deciding the rights of people as opposed to natural rights. He believed in collective intelligence. Constitutions should be used a form of traditional authority. He was frightened by the French Revolution. He believed equality is fake. Humans desire to be part of a community, to love, to be in a family, and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Mary Wollstonecraft Her views were similar to Locke. She supported the idea of natural law. She also supported individual rights and equality for the sexes. She believed that the church was corrupted. She thought the system negatively affects everybody, even the rich. She thought that time does not make what is wrong morally right. John Stuart Mill He supported Utilitarianism. Pleasures are all different. He used to support laissezfaire capitalism but he eventually supported capitalism. Decisions that are made at right may not be beneficial in the long run. Intellectual pleasure should be pursued rather than sexual pleasure. He was a rare man since he supported women’s rights and was a feminist. He believed in freedom of discourse. He was distrustful of mass opinion. He supported freedom of expression. He believed women’s oppression is not natural. He thought only the educated should vote.