| Page Political Science 374 8-Sep-09 John Adams General Biography 1735 ? 182. Born and lived in Massachusetts. He was a Harvard educated lawyer Delegate to first and second Continental Congresses Served as a diplomat to France and Holland during the revolution and then as the main ambassador to The Court of St. James (Britain) The Rule of Law A Republic is ruled by laws and not men. The offices and the institutions that surround them are more important than the individuals or parties that inhabit those positions. When the Rule of Law in undermined, republics fail. Laws needed to be fixed and not fluid to go along with the trends of public opinion. Laws must be good, giving equal protection, and must be wisely made. If the laws can change, the government can change at any point in time. He largely associated himself with the beliefs of Cicero. Hugo Bronchus and Cicero were his primary influences in his law career. Law of justice was the law of liberty. Fixed justice comes from the law. Human law is bound up with particular virtues such as wisdom, religion, morality, piety Theory must be practical and capable of being carried out, otherwise the theory was worthless. He believed God made mankind with the intention of giving us liberty and freedom. Human knowledge is only possible after we accept certain things on faith. To Adams, living a life in liberty was only possible if we followed the Christian Golden Rule. It?s not just about rights, liberties, and privileges; we must educate ourselves on virtue. He believed heavily in religious liberty. With the executive veto, the executive teams up with the people to keep the legislature and majority in check. 1. Consent Popular consent of the governed. Same as Locke and Montesquieu beliefs The idea of breaking off from an unfair and unjust government is defined by consent of the governed and the rights of the governed. The idea of self-government is based on a contract between the government and the governed. It?s about a duty to ourselves, to others, and to God. The Role of government is ultimately to allow and plan for the happiness of the governed citizens existing inside a society. 2. Checks and Balances A. Separation of Powers Would check the powers of any one branch. It would encourage the common masses to stay motivated and ultimately continuously defend their personal liberty. He believed that we should have fairly frequent elections to keep people interested in their government. B. The National Legislative Power Locke discussed the need for established legislative power; Montesquieu defined the establishment of three branches of government and the relations between each. Adams subscribed to a mix of both. Adams said that, to get laws passed, a law should have to go through a bicameral legislature to ensure the wisdom of the measure. Adams favored the balance created between the two houses as well as the possibility of executive veto. He criticized unicameral legislatures for three reasons: He believed a unicameral legislature would be subject to tyranny of the majority. There would be no one to check their interests. There would, thusly, be no restraints from taking unlawful power and changing the entirety of the political system. People would abdicate their rights and turn away from liberty. Adams saw the need for judicial review as being essential to giving the judicial branch teeth and power inside the national political spectrum. No man should be the judge and jury of any other person. Adams understood political structure in government. It?s empirical and it involved studying political phenomena, drawing conclusions, and acting on those conclusions in a moral context. Pg. 117 ? Liberty is defined as the rule by which we would be done by.(Definition of Liberty with the Golden Rule) Pg. 122 ? Adams was the chief defender of bicameralism of his day. Pgs. 122 ? 123 ? Author discusses checks and balances in action. Pg. 125 ? Adams having a big problem with Thomas Paine. He agrees with Cicero that though all people have equal rights, there are certain rights reserved for talented people. We?re all equal but some are special because of talents they have. A bicameral legislature would keep legislatures in line to preserve liberty. The upper house would house the talented while the lower would house the common people?s representation. Pg. 126 ? Happiness cannot be found without virtue? Chapter concludes with Adam?s disgust with the idea of the extreme of the French Revolution
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