American Political Thought Essay Research Paper The

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American Political Thought Essay, Research Paper The United States of America in known throughout the world as the benchmark of a free society. The U. S. A. believes in a complex philosophy of liberalism. The question is where did this complex idea come from? Well I say it was inherited from the early settlers of the American Colonies and it has been transforming ever since and is now the form we see today. I intend to prove that Puritan Theology and culture, Anti-Federalist arguments, and Federalist political thought, have all been profound influences on this idea of liberalism. By liberalism we mean that Americans tend to look first to the individual as the source of value rather than to an imposed dogmatic creed or hierarchy (American Political Thinking). The way we look

at liberalism in America today there are two strands of it. The first strand which is called Classical Liberalism , is the idea that peoples property rights, their protection and a free economic market are more important than human welfare. This was the only type of liberalism there was for a while until some people thought that human rights were more important than the latter. This change in thought is called the progressive movement. This movement was created by a rise in the great concentrations of urban wealth. This movement was in opposition to the Laizze Fair attitudes of the Classical Liberals. They did not see the poor as being poor because they were stupid, lazy or inferior, but rather because of an unfair social and economic system. This leads progressive advocates to

want to redistribute the wealth among all of the people. It is important to realize that both these ideas are considered to be contained in the general term of liberalism. A good example of it in today s American society is are ever-present political parties. The Republicans consist of ideas that are generally based on classical liberalism and Democrats lean more towards the progressive side. However it is important to remember that both these parties are considered liberal in the sense that they are both based on ideas of liberalism. A liberal is basically someone who believes in seeing the individual as rational and self-interested and being entitled to a collection of rights, such as those leading to the preservation of life, liberty, and property. Governments are created by

consent of the participating parties. Governments are to be limited to the protection of individual rights and maintaining public order. Governments should also be feared as a source of tyranny. It is also important to know that all liberals believe in the same core set of values. Those values being individualism, limited government, natural rights, property rights and the idea that individuals are more important than society. They also believe the government exists for the purpose of individuals seeking the pursuit of happiness. The Puritans are a people that struggled working their theology into their everyday life. They have many paradoxes in their world and through these conflicts they have contributed to American political thought. The first of the main paradoxes is the idea

of political liberty vs. theocracy. Through these challenges the Puritans came up with many revolutionary ideas. The Puritans did not believe in any source of human authority, only in the authority of the Old Testament. They believed in the Old Testament because it was written with the hand of God. They did not believe in any other religious authorities, especially the Pope. Their thought was, if there is no religious authority, then it is wrong and immoral and will damage your soul if you tried to make everyone have the same religious belief. This created religious toleration, which is one of the more progressively liberal ideas most Americans hold today. The second paradox is the belief in predestination vs. the need for human action. Unlike the ideas of Catholicism the