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How were the Founders' views about government influenced both by classical republicanism and the natural rights philosophy?


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May 23, 2007 5:59PM

I am not sure classical republicanism is the best phrase to use to describe the Founders' views on government. The Founders' had a variety of different influences most of which come from modernism/classical liberalism, Christianity, deism, Greek philosophy, etc. The majority of the Founders' believed in natural law either because of their deist, Christian or Lockean influences. This is very obvious when you read the style of writing in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. It is written using very normative language, implying that law and the way things ought be run is not just whatever the government decides, but is instead restrained by what is right. They explicitly state that governments (such as England's) can do unjust things, which one can infer that what is just isn't merely what is law, but instead that government must follow some natural form of justice in order for it's laws to be moral.