The American Revolution, Locke's Influence, and the Politics of the US Constitution

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Q.1 American Revolution & Locke's Influence

  • John Locke Two Treatises of Government

According to John Locke, the British King did not have the divine right of kings to rule; rather, the ruled were to receive "Life, liberty, and property" in a social contract between the subjects and the King.

If he broke the contract, the ruled had the right to revolt.

  • Founding Fathers of American Revolution borrowed from Locke "Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" and the right to revolt from the British King

Q.2 The Politics of Signing of the US Constitution

  • Philadelphia Convention

The formal signing of the Constitution took place on September 17, 1787, almost 109 days after the Philadelphia Convention first met.

Meeting on September 13, 1788, the Articles Congress acknowledged ratification of the Constitution with some states ratifying only on the condition that a bill of rights would soon be added to the Constitution, which it was.

The new House and Senate transacted their first business on April 2 and April 5, 1789, respectively, with George Washington's inauguration as President following on April 30.

Q.3 The Choice of Federation over Confederation & Unitary System

  • (1) Unitary System - A central government that has complete authority over all levels of government

E.g. France

It was rejected

  • (2) Confederation System - A power-sharing arrangement in which a central government's authority is granted by individual political units

E.g. Articles of Confederation

US's first constitution

  • (3) Federation - Federalists v. Anti-federalists

Federalist Papers, Federalists prevailed, US present Constitution is a federation where the central national government is very strong


Article VI, Section 2

Federal laws "shall be Supreme Law of the Land"

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