The Evolving Repercussions Of Political Philosophy

1629 words - 7 pages

In the United States, politics have become a growing philosophical ideal since the time of the Greeks and Romans. It has always been a weighted matter of importance to have a society which functions under laws and governing bodies. Through the progression of time, many of these political ideals have changed according to what the people of that time are socially and culturally in need of. One of these times was in the seventeenth century in Europe. The development and change of several political ideas began to shape the nation. Through this shaping was the development of the political basis for the United States.

The beginning of the political changes in Europe has the basis of monarchy. This began in early European, Middle Eastern, and Northern African history. Through this certain concept of monarchy, the kings and rulers are divinely chosen. In the seventeenth century Europe began a reformation from political chaos and the idea of monarchy. From this revolution, two philosophies resulted. The first was led by Hugo Grotius, who believed that the natural laws governed the states and their relations. The basis of this philosophy was from the belief that there were "constant and immutable rational laws which should be applied to all governments." With this theory came the political ideal that the government was ruled by both a monarchial figure as well as Parliament. The other side of this philosophy was the Divine Right of Kings which began by Jacques-Benigne Bossuet. This theory stated that certain kings ruled because they were chosen by God and these kings were accountable to no other person except God.

There was a third theory that became well known after these two ideals had been established, known as the Social Contract Theory. This was brought to light by Thomas Hobbes in the mid-1600's. During the later seventeenth century, a Civil War broke out in England over the idea of monarchy versus having a democracy as well as Parliament. Hobbes found a compromise between the two which he called the Social Contract Theory. This theory was used to move against the established monarchy. He stated that political authority and laws are based off of self-interests in society, none of which were given authority to rule over the rest. At the same time, he did not reject the idea of monarchy. He believed that a king or monarch of some type must be in power to enforce laws and obligations over a certain land. This theory was based off of both the idea of Psychological Egoism and the idea of the hypothetical state of nature. Psychological Egoism states that human nature and the laws of the universe are parallel in function. From these two explanations, he is able to determine that humans rely on self-interest. They also have a strong quality of being reasonable. From the philosophy of the State of Nature, men are equal to each other, there are limited resources, and men are able to cooperate. However, since the...

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