What are the different theoretical facets of equality, as explained in the lectures? Your answer should include historical illustrations of each point, and must address the American Revolution, as well as Thomas Paine's Common Sense. (Plato-Republic selections from books 2 & 8, Hobbes-Leviathan Chapter 13,Locke-Second Treatise of Government selection from chapter Rousseau-discourse on the Origin of Inequality selections,Marx-Capital Vol 1 selections, Jefferson- Declaration of Independence, Goldfield- Chapter 2,Paine-Common Sense)
I asked him he said that is not what the question is about. He wants to hear about the different thinkers (Plato through Paine), and show the effect of what they though was/was needed for equality on America at the time of the revolution and creation of our constitution
Can someone possibly elaborate what specifically he is asking...possibly examples of some ideas. I dont have my notes with me at the time, but the ideas of Jacques Rousseau and Hobbes are examples of this. If anyone has them written down please add them."Equality is expansive once one place gets freedom everyone wants it [Haitian Revolution after the American Revolution]), Equality is contradictory (Jackson fought for white democracy, and was a strong supporter of slavery. Wealthy slave owners supported movement that extended the suffrage to poor whites. Jackson's [white] populism: government should work not just for wealthy but for the poor as well [poor whites]) and equality is contested (if equality isn't being fought for, it's being fought against (American Revolution as an example of the need to be freed otherwise, it would be neglected. [insert Thomas Paine on British hostility on the colonies]) Another good example for this would be going back to the very first lectures, Professor Saccarelli spoke about the Greeks and their use of Direct Democracy, meaning every citizen gets to vote and voice their opinion. However, not all citizens could do this, slaves were not allowed to vote pointing to a fault in the system, Equality is Contradictory.
Okay here's what I have so far for the different ideas of each thinker on equality, if anyone wants to finish the last three out or help with the second essay?
We shrink from the idea of living in Plato's Republic because we are driven by the wrong desires—by the desire for money, physical pleasure, and honor. He would add that if we were driven by the correct desires, the desire for truth, order, harmony, and the good of our society as a whole, we would be more open to adopting Plato's system of government.
The definition of justice as "treating friends well and enemies badly" is for Plato not only inadequate because it is too narrow, but also wrong because it is based on a mistaken belief of what justice is, namely, on the belief grounded in factionalism, which Socrates does not associate with the wise ones but with tyrants
All there is, is a domination by the powerful and privileged over the powerless. The moral language of justice is used merely instrumentally to conceal the interests of the dominant group and to make these interests appear universal.
justice, understood traditionally as virtue and related to goodness, is the foundation of a good political order, and as such is in everyone's interest. Justice, if rightly understood, Plato argues, is not to the exclusive advantage of any of the city's factions, but is concerned with the common good of the whole political community, and is to the advantage of everyone. It provides the city with a sense of unity, and thus, is a basic condition for its health.
For Plato, like for Solon, the starting point for the inquiry about the best political order is the fact of social diversity and conflicting interests, which involve the danger of civil strife.
The best political order for Plato is that which promotes social peace in the environment of cooperation and friendship among different social groups, each benefiting from and each adding to the common good. The best form of government, which he advances in the Republic, is a philosophical aristocracy or monarchy, but that which he proposes in his last dialogue the Laws is a traditional polity: the mixed or composite constitution that reconciles different partisan interests and includes aristocratic, oligarchic, and democratic elements.
As has already been noted, people are constantly moved by appetites and aversions, and as such, have certain ends in mind which they strive to attain. Since one or more men may desire the same end (for example, food or shelter), they are in a constant state of conflict and competition with one another. If man's appetites were finite this would not be so problematic, but as Hobbes argued in the above chapters, we are never satisfied with any amount of power (the means to attain certain ends), and are thus always in a constant power struggle with others.
Men are by nature equal in their powers, as even "the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger as himself." From this equality in the state of nature where even the weak can kill the strong, combined with a finite amount of resources and distrust of other men, arises a perpetual state of conflict. Without a common power to mediate amongst men and distribute resources, the state of nature is nothing but a state of constant war, where "the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. He wrote that chaos or civil war - situations identified with a state of nature- could only be averted by strong central government.
Hobbes is an innovation: Hobbes suggests that men by nature are enemies, not fellow citizens. The other alternative is
what interests Hobbes
Locke (Second Treatise of Government):
Civil society exists to protect the property and liberty of its members--if something break s down anywhere in its government and it no longer fulfills this function, something has gone awry and the people have a right to rid themselves of that government.
If the government in power is not working for them, it is not a just government, and people would be better off in a state of nature.
Locke also notes that all concerns about revolution are foolish, because they represent a fear of a righteous process: it is rightful and dignified for people to rebel against unjust oppression.
Rousseau (Discourse on origin of inequality):
The implication is that the way in which property is distributed is the key factor in the growth of inequality. But without property, there would be no inequality at all, and no rich or poor.
The solution to this terrible conflict is a contract, proposed by the rich, to form political societies. This contract is a grotesque trick played by the rich on the poor. The poor are made to believe that, by agreeing to the creation of political society, they will be made safe and preserve their freedom.
by implication, democracy is the best and most equal system because it is closest to natural freedom.
Rousseau's overall hostility to existing laws and institutions becomes clear in this section. He thinks that they are either useless—because they cannot really regulate behavior—or that they are actively harmful because they take man further away from the state of nature and encourage the vices that they should prevent.
conclusions are not that surprising: that inequality has its origins in the rise of reason and enlightenment; that it is legitimated by laws and property; and that it is against natural law unless it is related to physical inequality.
Jefferson (Declaration of Independence):
-The reason why we have man-made governments is to protect these rights, not to interfere with them
When Thomas Jefferson wrote that "all men are created equal," he did not mean that all men were equal in all respects. In other places he wrote with conviction about the existence of a natural aristocracy among men, based upon virtue and talent. Yet, many today quote Jefferson as though he intended to state that all men ought to be made as equal as possible. This is to speak of equality of condition, a position rejected by Jefferson and all political thinkers in the Age of the American Revolution. It was rejected because even a cursory examination of human nature reveals ineradicable differences among men.
Much has been written on the history of equality, especially in the twentieth century. Yet, most of what has been written does not help much to clear up the confusion that surrounds the term, confusion arising, for example, from the fact that Jefferson could state his belief in both equality and inequality without a sense of contradiction.
How did the idea of equality come to be part of the intellectual baggage of the mind of the American Revolution? The concept of equality was not an invention of the Founders themselves, rather it was absorbed by them from the intellectual climate created by the Enlightenment and from colonial experience. The typical philosophe argued that since sovereignty in political society rests with the people, a certain sense of equality follows. Yet this sovereignty was delegated, the philosophe argued, to the crown or to other rulers. But the notion that equality could be part of society at all was part of their theoretical or mythical claim that equality had to be part of the State of Nature.
Goldfield (Chapter 2): Saw equality as equally inclusive, like the mobs that began the start of the force behind the American Revolution. It showed that people could unite together under a common goal, and Goldfield sees this as a particularly egalitarian moment (like Shay's Rebellion) because separate classes/races fought together without seeming to notice their distinctions. However, this is lost post Constitution b/c the united race/classes scared the rich into a needed division of the labor class (white vs. black) once again tipping the balance more towards that of unequal.
Thomas Paine (Common Sense): We have it in our power to begin the world over again. Paine wrote common sense in order to inspire a new way of thinking in the American people. He wanted them to realize the severe injustices that had been committed against them. If the government is not fulfilling it's purpose of protecting the people, then why submit to such a government at all? Also he urged that the distinguishing of people, king/subject and rich/poor destorys man's natural equality, which he believed in, and the English Monarchy at that time specifically broadened these distinctions. His ideas opened the eyes of the people to the thrashing of equality, which many agreed government was instituted to foster, in turn, helping spark the American Revolution, a chance for the distinctions to be removed in order to fight for a common goal, equality for all, which is later lost sight of post ratification of the constitution.
In essence, he wants the American people to realize that the British Monarchy is violating their natural rights. Natural rights being the basis for the fight for equality.
the Revolutionary War had a significant effect on the rise of egalitarianism in American society. Even though this effect was somewhat unintentional, it has created a nation with a strong sense of values and determination. The American Revolution produced the equality-driven nation that is known to Americans as well as other societies around the world. These sentiments remain in the initial laws of the country but have since been compromised by further laws and the strengthening of the color line and other methods.
Can someone please clarify Rousseau's facet of equality or the "natural inequality" aspect?
In my notes I have that equality is expansive and "natural inequality" exists because we are born into a system which we cannot deny. I also have that the government must be responsible to its people and private property is unnatural and creates messed up people, which is why Rousseau questions the value of things. I'm not sure if that helps at all.
Rousseau states that natural inequality is formed by the vocation of man; Men are born the same but become unequal because of their different walks of life. Men in nature are their own masters, but as soon as society gives them desire for property