In the first week of the study, there are issues discussed that sum up to unity. One of the authors is discussing issues of monarchs and kingdom. He looks what thrives the monarchs and kingdom in any given time in history. He believes that monarchs and kingdoms exist because of the divine powers bestowed upon the kings over the lives of common people. As he demonstrates,
“The state of Monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only Gods lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God Himself they are called gods” (James I, “Address before Parliament”, 1610. P.4).
The second writer talks of how human nature is subordinate to God as He is supreme. He addresses how human beings are governed by regulations of justice and mercy in their quest for unity. He argues that it is on the basis of these two principles that human beings are united and bound together. He contends that interaction between humans is established on the basis of the laws of nature and law of grace through mercy, love, affection and altruism. He utters, “This consideration and altruism of every other’s conditions will necessarily infuse into every part a native desire and determination, to empower, protect, conserve and console the other”. These norms are rational in the Monotheists faith so he claims. He also feels the functionality of each individual and the importance of the roles they play however insignificant the may be. He compares this functionality with the natural body where each body part has a role to play. This helps in strengthening the bond between individual as he refers to it as “labor of love among Christians”.
In the second week, we have focused on John Locke who has looked on issues of power and authority in all aspects of a society. He addresses the issue of power distribution across all institutions of society, ranging from magistrates and courts to husbands and their families. He focuses on political power, equality where there is no subordination of anyone and the state of nature which is irrelevant unless people accomplish it. He also focuses on the issue of liberty where he claims that liberty amongst individuals should not be used to harm others. This should be exercised in terms of owning property and liberty of options,. He utters:
“To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man” (John Locke, “Second Treatise of Government”, 1689, p.51).
Locke think that because every man has a right to property which is attained through the labor of his hands, then there is nobody else who has the right over him or his property for man in the state of nature are supposed to be free from any superior power in any circumstances. He contends that trying to impose absolute power over individual, pus himself on a state of war with the individual. Rather, he utters that:
“The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule.” (John Locke, “Second Treatise of Government”, 1689, p.54).
The third week is about how English liberties can be upheld in accordance with the legislations. These liberties are safeguarded by the fact that the king should act within the established laws to protect all subjects. Ortis looks at taxation as a form of slavery. He contends that there can be natural equity to all if there will be equal representation of all colonist in the parliament so as to address their issues. He contends that any subject whose origin is connected to Britain, are entitled to all the natural, necessary, inherent, and inseparable rights as by the law of God and nature. He focuses on how the crown subject people to unnecessary taxation without their concurrence. He utters:
“Is there the least difference as to the consent of the colonists whether taxes and impositions are laid on their trade and other property by the crown alone or by the Parliament? As it is agreed on all hands the crown alone cannot impose them, we should be justifiable in refusing to pay them, but must and ought to yield obedience to an act of Parliament, though erroneous, till repealed” (Right of British Colonies Asserted and approved”, 1764, pp.157).
The forth week was characterized by the issues of centralization of power. In the regard to the texts provided by the continental congress, the creation of loose confederation of independent states has reduced the powers of the central government. This implies that every state will have a single vote in matters of the central government. The congress has to set the limits of the central government and assume the powers itself of estimating government expenses, request for foreign aid, as well as declare war on perceived and real enemies, signing treaties with foreign nations and alliances. The texts have raised the issues of taxation where the mandate was given to the federal government and any amendment required the concurrence of every member state. Equal taxation to all people irrespective of their origin was also looked at in the text. The text demonstrates:
“The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article—of sending and receiving ambassadors—entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever—of establishing rules for deciding in all cases…..” (“Article of Confederation”, 1777-1781, p.334).
The final week was about the controversial issue of slave trade. Lincoln (“House Dichotomized Speech”, 1858) supposed that slave business was a habit that should be avoided at all costs. He countered that any state would not flourish when it was half-free and half-slave. For him, slavery should not prevail and it should not spread to western territories. He supposed that if slavery was to exist, then they would have to pass laws and decisions towards slavery. He contends,:
“Put this and that together, and we have another nice little niche, which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a state to exclude slavery from its limits” (Abraham Lincoln, “House divide speech”, 1858, p.1050).
In summary, the past eight weeks have been focusing on power, authority, liberty, justice, mercy as well as upholding civil and suffrage rights. This has been done through focusing on different authors in different points in time. They address the above raised issues in accordance with the established rule and laws, either legislationsally or by acts of parliament. The principles discussed are key elements that are essential in any successful government, since they establish a good foundation of good governance.
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