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The Evolution of Democracy from a Lockeian to a Native American Perspective

The Evolution of Democracy from a Lockeian to a Native American Perspective

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Published by barbara_traudt
Copyright 2001 Dr. Barbara A. Traudt University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies

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CHAPTER I LOCKE AND INDIGENOUS AMERICANS

Locke -- dry, cold, languid, wearisome, will live forever. Montesquieu -- rapid, brilliant, glorious, enchanting, will not outlive this century. -- Jeremy Bentham1 John Locke, empiricist, physician, philosopher and political theorist, may not live on forever in men's memories, but throughout history will certainly be honored by the very existence of th
Copyright 2001 Dr. Barbara A. Traudt University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies

1

CHAPTER I LOCKE AND INDIGENOUS AMERICANS

Locke -- dry, cold, languid, wearisome, will live forever. Montesquieu -- rapid, brilliant, glorious, enchanting, will not outlive this century. -- Jeremy Bentham1 John Locke, empiricist, physician, philosopher and political theorist, may not live on forever in men's memories, but throughout history will certainly be honored by the very existence of th

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: barbara_traudt on Nov 10, 2010
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Copyright 2001Dr. Barbara A. TraudtUniversity of DenverGraduate School of International Studies
 
 
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CHAPTER ILOCKE AND INDIGENOUS AMERICANS
Locke -- dry, cold, languid, wearisome, will live forever.Montesquieu -- rapid, brilliant, glorious, enchanting, will not outlivethis century. -- Jeremy Bentham
1
 John Locke, empiricist, physician, philosopher and political theorist, may notlive on forever in men's memories, but throughout history will certainly behonored by the very existence of the numerous societies he conceptually helped tocreate. While his political and social philosophy is the very mortar of today'srepublican societies, his "labor theory of value" was a convincing weapon againstthe idle Aristocracy ruling 17th Century Europe. He was the first political theoristto argue for the right of revolution if government usurps its duties to its citizenry.His arguments were, in and of themselves, revolutionary and insightful for histime.John Locke had a radical new idea to offer peoples everywhere. In a timewhere "Divine Right of Kings" was the traditional way of ruling societies, andwhere a propertied Aristocracy controlled virtually all territory while landlesspeasants worked for bare subsistence, Locke argued that those who work the landdeserve its bounty -- not absentee or idle landowners. For Locke argues thatownership of land can be had
only
via one's labor -- never one's position insociety.Further, along with Thomas Hobbes, Locke argued that societies were formedand legitimate
only
on the basis of popular consent. Both men argued that a kind
 
 
3
of "social contract" was formed among men, in order to secure their liberty. This,they argue, was the true origin of society. Therefore it is also the
true origin of  power 
:
consent of the
 
 people
, not
divine mandate!
The implications of these ideaswere to be enormous.Where Locke is held dear is in the conclusion he draws from the aboveargument. Unlike Hobbes, he argued that if a society is based on popular consent,the citizenry had the right to change the government if power is usurped by thoseentrusted to govern. Locke, in effect, was the first theoretician to argue for theunequivocal
right 
of revolution by the people if those in a position of powerabused it. This argument was in and of itself revolutionary in 17th centuryEngland -- so much so that Locke spent years of his life exiled from the landwhere he was born, to the only liberal bastion of the time, the Netherlands.
TheTwo Treatises
originally was considered such a seditious document that even afterLocke finished his exile and returned to England, he would deny almost to hisdeath his authorship of the work. Dunn elaborates, "Locke remained, however, notmerely unwilling to disclose his authorship of the . . .
Two Treatises
, but morethan a little hysterical when friends incautiously or inadvertently threatened todisclose it for him" (Dunn, 1984, pp. 14).Today, all representative democracies owe Locke a great debt. Lauded as the"father of Liberalism" -- that political doctrine that intertwines representativedemocracy, individual liberty and a free-market economic system as the basis forsociety -- Locke's influence on today's world, while frequently under estimated,has been tremendous. Cranston explains,Locke was many other things -- economist, diplomatist, theologian,traveler, scientist, physician, pedagogue as well as philosopher . . . .Our modern Western world has been made by scientists, merchants,statesmen, industrialists; Locke was the first philosopher to expound

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