Sunday, March 27, 2011

Was the American Revolution justified?

Two arguments can be made on behalf of Founders on this issue. The first argument is the sort of thing Claremont advocates would like because they’re into the Locke = Founders view. Locke translated Just War Criteria into Revolutionary Criteria which are mentioned in the Declaration itself.

Just War →Revolutionary Criteria

Proper Authority

The Majority of Colonists is represented by elected representatives in the 2nd Continental Congress

Just Cause

Repeated abuses e.g. body of the Declaration lists over 20 infractions committed by George III

Last Resort

Exhaust all legal appeals e.g. The Declaration of Rights and Grievances & Olive Branch Petition

Right Intention

Can’t replace something w/ nothing e.g. Articles of Confederation and eventually the Constitution

Appeal to Heaven

God judges the revolt e.g. the concluding paragraph of the Declaration says God will judge them for what they are about to do.

The Burkean/Kirkian argument is the founders fought for the “chartered rights of Englishmen” i.e. they fought for the CIVIL, not natural (Lockean), rights of the Glorious Revolution. The Founders, like Parliament in 1688, were conserving their legal rights against a revolutionary king, George III/James II. Thus the American Revolution, like the Glorious Revolution, was “prevented, not made” to quote Edmund Burke.

Glorious Revolution

American Revolution

Old Ways

Chartered rights of Englishmen/Declaration of Rights

  • Trial by jury
  • Right against self-incrimination
  • No search or seizure w/out warrant
  • No excessive bail
  • Right to bear arms

US Bill of Rights

6th amendment

4th amendment

8th amendment

2nd amendment


James II wanted

-standing army


George III’s taxation without representation

While the English have some decent arguments for their side, these two arguments make the Founders case pretty reasonable.

1 comment:

  1. How I miss the Revolutions elective!