Personal Rights Versus Common Good

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Katelyn Hartsock
Mr. Parmeter
Honors Government
Period 4
22 September 2013
Natural Rights vs. Common Good
This country is founded on many different beliefs and ideas. However, the main purpose of these ideas served the same intentions. The intent was to separate from England and show the world what a great country America could be. America would be great by having a great government. The philosophy of a successful government included points of natural rights, classical republicanism, and which points deserved the most emphasis. Today, America is a great country, but by taking a careful observation, one can see that our ideas of important factors have changed.

The natural rights philosophy is that of a more personal agenda. The theory of natural rights is that people, being God’s creation, possess certain rights. These rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Earlier founders believed in these rights so strongly that they included a more specific list of rights to the constitution (The Bill of Rights). The ideologies of natural rights also included the belief that the government of one’s country is required to respect and protect these rights of each citizen.

Classical Republicanism focuses more on the people as a whole. The views of a classical republican were those in supports of the common good. Classical republicanism taught that one should live their life in such a way that the community could benefit from it. The idea was that if everyone lived his or her life in this state of mind, then in the long run everyone would be prosperous, enjoying the rewards of their hard work and everyone else’s efforts included. The government should not focus on each individual, but see that everyone is doing his or her part.

In the beginning, our founders believed that both notions were very good ways of thinking. Of course there were disagreements, as there always will be, but the passion to create a great country was mutual. The constitution...
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