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John Winthrop. What were Winthrop’s views of equality? Winthrop’s views of community Does community negate individualism? The Puritan covenant City upon a hill… “thou must give him according to his necessity, rather than led him as he requires.”. John Cotton .

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john winthrop
John Winthrop
  • What were Winthrop’s views of equality?
  • Winthrop’s views of community
  • Does community negate individualism?
  • The Puritan covenant
  • City upon a hill…
  • “thou must give him according to his necessity, rather than led him as he requires.”
john cotton
John Cotton
  • God appoints a place for his people
  • Special commission from God
  • What constitutes lawful war?
  • Did Indians give the Puritans their land?
  • Did the Indians consider their lands vacant?
edmund burke
Edmund Burke
  • “the use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed , which is perpetually to be conquered.”
  • “ My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the effect of force; and an armament is not a victory. If you do not succeed, you are without resource; for, conciliation failing, force remains; but, force failing, no further hope of reconciliation is left….”
  • “A further objection to force is, that you impair the object by your very endeavours to preserve it. The thing you fought for is not the thing which you recover; but depreciated, sunk, wasted and consumed in the contest….” (Page 21.)
  • Founder of Conservatism: “Burke maintained that society was a contract, but ‘the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, to be taken up for a temporary interest and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties.’ The state was a partnership but one ‘not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead and those who are to be born.’ No one generation therefore has the right to destroy this partnership; instead, each generation has the duty to preserve and transmit it to the next. Burke advised against the violent overthrow of a government by revolution, but he did not reject the possibility of change. Sudden change was unacceptable, but that did not eliminate gradual or evolutionary improvements.” (Spielvogel, p. 612)
adam smith
Adam Smith
  • To what is Smith reacting?
  • The “invisible hand” of the laws of supply and demand
  • Monopolies?
  • “Even the regulations by which each nation endeavours to secure to itself the exclusive trade of its own colonies, are frequently more hurtful to the countries in favour of which they are established than to those against which they are established.”
michel st john de crevecoeur
Michel St. John de Crevecoeur
  • Are Crevecoeur’s Letters a work of fiction or non-fiction?
  • Development of the wilderness
  • No system of vassalage: “It is not composed, as in Europe, of great lords who possess everything, and of a herd of people who have nothing.”
  • More equality
  • People of cultivators
  • “Here the rewards of his industry follow with equal steps the progress of his labour…”
  • “As freemen they will be litigious; pride and obstinacy are often the cause of law suits.”
  • “Here religion demand but little of him; a small voluntary salary to the minister, and gratitude to God; can he refuse these?”
  • “…the laws inspect our actions, our thoughts are left to God.”
  • “…how religious indifference becomes prevalent.”
  • On the frontier: “they are often in a perfect state of war.”
  • Who is Crevecoeur’s main intended audience?
  • The melting pot.
  • “He does not find, as in Europe, a crowded society, where every place is over-stocked.”
  • “The rich stay in Europe, it is only the middling and the poor that emigrate.”
  • “…he now feels himself a man, because he is treated as such.”
  • “[He] feel an ardour to labour he never felt before.”
thomas jefferson on slavery
Thomas Jefferson on Slavery
  • “Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race. To these objection, which are political, may be added others, which are physical and moral.”
  • Who is Sally Hemings, and how her relationship to Jefferson affect our reading of Jefferson on slavery?
  • “The circumstance of superior beauty, is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man?”
  • sweat and disagreeable odor
  • “They are more ardent after their female; but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven his given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.” Are the above generalities useful? Jefferson is a keen observer, but is he as keen as an empathizer?
  • “…in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior…”
  • “Among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry.” Is Jefferson’s assessment of good poetry broad or narrow? What factors is he not taking into consideration?
  • “…though for a century and a half we have had under our eyes the races of black and red men, they have never yet been viewed by us as subjects of natural history. I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” What does such a conclusion by one of our most important Founding Fathers who wrote that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence tell us about the deep roots of prejudice and racism in our country?
  • “The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it…”
jefferson and adams on aristocracy
Jefferson and Adams on Aristocracy
  • Adams: “…parties and factions will not suffer improvements to be made. As soon as one man hints at an improvement, his rival opposes it. No sooner has one party discovered or invented any amelioration of the condition of man, or the order of society than the opposite party belies it, misconstrues it, misrepresents it, ridicules it, insults it, and persecutes it. Records are destroyed. Histories are annihilated or interpolated or prohibited; sometimes by Popes, sometimes by Emperors, sometimes by aristocratical, and sometimes by democratical assemblies, and sometimes by mobs….” What is Adam’s view of humankind and its ability to govern itself? Why might he caution against democratic government?
  • What is natural and artificial aristocracy, according to Jefferson?
  • How does Jefferson hope to avoid unenlightened mob rule in a democratic society?
  • Primogeniture
  • Jefferson: “Every one, by his property, or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the support of law and order.”
  • Jefferson on Europe: “Science had liberated the ideas of those who read and reflect, and the American example had kindled feelings of right in the people. An insurrection has consequently begun, of science, talents and courage against rank and birth, which have fallen into contempt.”
  • Jefferson: “Every folly must run its round; and so, I suppose, must that of self-learning, and self sufficiency; of rejecting the knowledge acquired in past ages, and starting on the new ground of intuition. When sobered by experience I hope our successors will turn their attention to the advantages of education.”
daniel webster against universal manhood suffrage
Daniel Webster, Against Universal Manhood Suffrage

“It is [Mr. Harrington’s] leading object, in his Oceana, to prove, that power naturally and necessarily follows property. He maintains that a government founded on property is legitimately founded; and that a government founded on the disregard of property is founded in injustice, and can only be maintained by military force…. To this sentiment, Sir, I entirely agree. It seems to me to be plain, that, in the absence of military force, political power naturally and necessarily goes into the hands which hold the property. In my judgement, therefore, a republican form of government rest, not more on political constitutions, than on those laws which regulate the descent and transmission of property.”

If the nature of our institutions be to found government on property, and that it should look to those who hold property for its protection, it is entirely just that property should have its due weight and consideration in political arrangements. Life and personal liberty are no doubt to be protected by law; but property is also to be protected by law, and is the fund out of which the means for protecting life and liberty are usually furnished. We have no experience that teaches us that any other rights are safe where property is not safe. Confiscation and plunder are generally, in revolutionary commotions, not far before banishment, imprisonment, and death.” (p. 49)

eric foner the birth of american freedom
Eric Foner: The Birth of American Freedom
  • “In the ancient world, lack of self-control was understood as a form of slavery, the antithesis of a free life. ‘Show me a man who isn’t a slave,’ wrote Seneca.” “’One is a slave to sex, another to money, another to ambition.’” (3-4)
  • Freedom to the Puritans: “Freedom meant abandoning this life of sin to embrace the teaching of Christ. …John Winthrop…distinguished sharply between ‘natural liberty,’ which suggested ‘a liberty to evil,’ and ‘moral liberty…a liberty to do only what is good’” (4)
  • Liberty and the law: “…Aristotle had cautioned men not to ‘think is slavery to live according to the rule of the constitution….’” “Liberty, wrote John Locke, meant not leaving every person free to do as he desired, but “having a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power.” (5)
  • “British freedom celebrated the rule of law, the right to live under legislation to which one’s community had consented, restraints on the arbitrary exercise of political authority, and rights like trial by jury enshrined in the common law. It was closely identified with the Protestant religion and was invoked most stridently to contrast Britons with the “servile” subjects of Catholic countries.” (5)
  • Medieval Liberties: formal privileges such as self-government or exemption from taxation granted to particular groups by contract, charter or royal decree. (6)
slide10

Eric Foner: The Birth of American Freedomcontinued

  • The popular ideology of liberty as resistance to tyranny: “Power and liberty were widely believed to be natural antagonists, and in their balance constitutions and the principle that no man, even the king, is above the law, Britons claimed to have devised the best means of preventing political absolutism. These ideas sank deep roots not only within the political nation but far more broadly in British society. Laborers, sailors, and artisans spoke the language of common law rights and British freedom as insistently as pamphleteers and Parliamentarians. By the eighteenth century, the category of free person had become not simply a legal status, as in medieval times, but a powerful element of popular ideology. On both sides of the Atlantic, liberty emerged as ‘the battle cry of the rebellious.’ Frequent crowd actions protesting infringements on traditional rights gave concrete expression to the definition of liberty as resistance to tyranny.” (7)
slide11

Eric Foner: The Birth of American Freedomcontinued

  • Virtue: It was assumed in the eighteenth century that only property-owning citizens possessed virtue. Virtue was understood “not simply as a personal, moral quality but as a willingness to subordinate private passions and desires to the public good. ‘Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom,’ wrote Benjamin Franklin.” (7-8)
  • “Those who did not control their own lives ought not to have a voice in governing the state. Political freedom required economic independence. (9)
  • Sir William Blackstone: men without property would inevitably fall “under the immediate domination of others.” Lacking a will of their own, their votes would threaten the “general liberty.” Not only personal depended, as in the case of a domestic servant, but working for wages was widely viewed as disreputable. (9)
slide12

Eric Foner: The Birth of American Freedomcontinued

  • The New World promised “to be liberation from the economic inequalities and widespread economic dependence of the Old. John Smith had barely landed at Jamestown in 1607 when he observed that in America, ‘every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land.’” “The visions of liberty that emigrants brought to colonial America always included the promise of economic independence and the ability to pass a freehold on to one’s children.” (10)
  • Who were considered free in eighteenth-century America? White property-owning males.
  • James Madison: the U.S. was the “workshop of liberty to the Civilized World.” (15)
  • Conservative patriots struggled valiantly to reassert the rationale for the old restrictions. Property, and property alone, John Adams insisted, meant independence; those without it had no “judgement of their own. They talk and vote as they are directed by some man of property.” (18)
slide13

Eric Foner: The Birth of American Freedomcontinued

  • “By 1800, indentured servitude had all but disappeared from the United States, and apprenticeship was on the wane, developments that sharpened the dichotomy between freedom and slavery and between a northern economy relying on what would come to be called ‘free labor’ and a South every more heavily bound to the labor of slaves.” (19)
  • “Blacks recognized both hypocrisy and opportunity in the ideology of freedom.” (34)
  • “By invoking the Revolution’s ideology of liberty to demand their own rights and defining freedom as a universal entitlement, blacks demonstrated how American they had become, even as they sought to redefine what American freedom in fact represented.” (35)
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