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Human communities are shaped by values. These values have been established in society through the efforts of people through channels such as leadership, ownership, and the will of the majority. Small impacts have successfully led to a collection of great impacts due to accumulation. When one is born, it is said that he/she is in the state of nature, seeing that everyone is important and without vices.
According to Rousseau, a person in the state of nature is compassionate and without evil. As a person grows and interacts with society, he begins to understand the social differences, and finally, his mind is poisoned. Rousseau argued that in the past people had no hunger for individual ownership of the property until one person fenced a piece of land and claimed that the land belonged to him; after this, people started to own property. With time many had so little while some had great masses of wealth. This in turn brought about some people working for others and later slavery.
The consequence was that those that were slaves felt that they were being exploited and crime began, for instance, robberies, killings among other social evils. This was because of the tight competition for resources where the loser felt cheated. The rich then saw that they needed something that could govern the community and put it in order; this turned out to be the supreme law to be followed by all people.
This is when the constitution was drafted and people were either to agree or disagree with it. The power of general will finds a place in this context. The legislator, one who writes the constitution has to consider all the people in the society so that majority can be on his side. The laws in the constitution become a platform of governance. The constitution may change over time according to the economic status of the community and value system. This essay will discuss the origin of inequality, the general will, constitution, and bill of rights about revolution and their significance in the community.
State of nature
All human creation is equal. This is a topic that many people stand still to listen to because it is in human nature desire to be respected and to be loved. Every human is born equal to all others even if other physical aspects such as ownership, race, tribe, and leadership draw a line when one begins to realize who they are according to their age. Every human has some attributes whether good or bad.
Firstly, the inner ability to think in all social circles is there but the power to implement one’s thoughts is either favored by the measure of wealth or denied by lack of finances. In his book, Rousseau emphasized that all men are equal in the state of nature such as body and mind. This essay will discuss how all men are equal and to what extent the equality diminishes and the contributing factors of inequality. This will bring out major concepts of human societies and the factors that affect their achievements.
Rousseau argued that ‘the first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took in his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe in him, was the true founder of civil society’ (Rousseau 3). Rousseau sees this was a big trick to people that originated from a man that needed possessions and subsequent spread of this trait to the society. This episode was followed by brainwashing the people and using them to create greater social differences. He called for unity to empower the rich and suppress the poor indirectly by creating rules and regulations that they readily agreed on.
This led to slavery by the poor and the rich became their bosses. All men desire to acquire wealth and to own. Men believed that they can work and own, and so they labor to achieve their goals. However, this becomes dangerous when different people focus on one property and no one is ready to accept defeat or rather a competition. This in turn may result in a fight initiated by the loser as a way of revenge.
Violence and crime build up in this simple way. The winner then lives in fear of attack. Therefore, the rich and the poor are equally important. Though they may not achieve the same goals; the winner’s peace is dependent on the loser’s attitude. Many people who believe that they had a right to own and were denied the opportunity becomes a problem and even sometimes may cost the winner his/her life.
Men also love to be in power. The strong will to dominate their territories such as other men and in their families is the nature of all men worldwide. The inequality led people to work not for love or compassion but for the pay they would get. Rousseau also captured equality in politics. The government plays a major role in the country or state and how the citizens relate with each other. The government can either protect its citizens or exploit them. In the past, the constitution was imprisoning the majority of the citizens and this called for the need for the bill of rights. Whereas wealth and riches may bring joy and happiness, it is not guaranteed that a wealthy man will always stay happy.
In contrast, many are the things that one may wish to acquire but money might make it possible for such to be acquired. A poor man may enjoy good health and freedom while a wealthy man may not have the same privilege. A man, regardless of his social status values, should be respected even by a wealthy person. If all people are equal, then many social evils witnessed today will most reduce in number.
On the other hand one should not despise the fact that though men may be equal, many disparities are very outstanding. The claiming or fight for equality by many will always be endangered by some of the aspects that cannot be avoided. For example, the age of a person should always be respected though it is continually failing due to poor ways of children’s upbringing. The mental conception automatically determines how humans relate and treat each other. Most human beings have main values regardless of their wealth. Human nature majors in good values such as kindness, love, and honesty among others.
Though a person may not express this to everyone, there is always someone or something they love and show gratitude to. Equality is only at birth. The environment by which one grows shapes him or her and fits him to a particular class due to social-economic factors.
General will exist in all communities, and it is defined as a will that is accepted by most community members. The result is that this leads to the main goal. It can punish those that deviate from it and protect those who are faithful to it. The expression of the general will is by all actions performed by the majority in a society. The community as a whole has a great influence on its social economic and political development depending on the choice of the general will. This also greatly affects politics considering that political leaders are elected by the citizens and those with the highest votes win.
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It has been argued that “The General will is not just property of the state as a whole but also a property of each citizen within it” (Daniel 1). This shows that each individual is important and has an influence on the community as a whole. General will therefore be the will that satisfied most of the citizens. In a community, no one is dependent on himself alone. All people work and interact actively either directly or indirectly.
Every citizen has the right to contribute personally or through representatives. Every citizen has his rights and should be able to fight for them. This will promote happiness and justice; for it is in human nature to be compassionate and treat other people as they would like to be treated.
However, the general will is not always supported due to social differences in a community where those in powers enforce a rule in their favor. In this way, injustice and freedom are denied to the poor man. It has been argued that:
The idea of the general will is at the heart of Rousseau’s philosophy. The general will is not the will of the majority. Rather, it is the will of the political organism that he sees as an entity with a life of its own. (Daniel 279)
The political and social status of a society is largely affected by its citizens. Values of society are also failed by a community member’s opinions, social places such as churches and schools, and are often affected by the culture. The value of society such as religion molds the individual behavior and therefore a community at large. The character that is built-in individual is likely to spread and have its grassroots in a particular community. A community is built or destroyed by its citizens. This is dependent on what the community decides as their leaders. Good planning by the government promotes the growth and development of a community and therefore a state at large.
The legislator proposes the laws to be used by people and the community must accept or reject it. For this constitution to be approved, the citizens must vote to agree with it. The constitution is only approved if the majority who are usually the higher percentage wins. If the opposition wins the constitution is not approved as it signifies that the General Will of the majority feels that their freedom and rights are denied, more than the constitution promises to approve the livelihoods of the people. When people feel deprived of their rights they call for amendments to the constitution.
Rousseau believed that the state of inequality came up as a result of social institutions. He saw that people’s hunger to accumulate wealth and increase their achievements grew over time. This was the origin of corruption and people were no longer in the state of their nature. There was then a need to control and restrict people from misuse of power and protect the community from exploitation.
The social groups developed some habits and those that felt that they were more equal than others called themselves the civilized. Since it was everybody’s wish to be in the civilized group, the civilized found a good platform to form a set of rules that could govern the people. This was a good idea since even those who did not belong to the civilized group felt that they will have a place to belong. A set of rules and regulations were made to govern the community. These rules were set by a legislator and written down as a reference. Those who liked them voted for them while those who did not like them opposed them.
This document was called a constitution and was the basis of governance in the community. The citizens, therefore, acted according to the constitution of their government. The general will then come in as a result; meaning that it is only if all the people agree to a common goal that the constitution recommended has to work. The legislator must therefore convince the citizens concerning the constitution displaying the advantages so that they can vote for it.
People’s general will change with time and in between generations. What values are there over a certain time keeps on improving or deteriorating depending on the value system of a community. The community is therefore responsible for shaping the value system of its citizens. Institutions such as churches, educational and working places set a good platform to implement good virtues but on the other hand if they fail the whole community can end up developing undesirable values. There is therefore a need to have social workers, psychologists, and advisors to direct the community for the welfare of society as a whole.
The level of dependence varies, though, for example, the ones in power depend on the rest of the people the level of dependence of the common citizen is higher than the dependence of the rich on the poor. The poor must work for the rich to get income for their (poor’s) survival.
A constitution is a set of laws that are set to give a guideline that all people should abide by. A community is ruled by a set of laws that are made by the government. The government selects individuals who are experts in different fields to represent the members of the society. These experts work on various issues that affect the communities in the country. These representatives propose a draft that is read to the citizens and then the amendments are made to various articles that are rejected by the majority. Finally, the citizens as a whole are supposed to vote for the constitution and this is where the issue of general will comes in.
If the majority are pleased by the constitution they will vote for it or vice versa. If the constitution fails, then the process must start again until a certain percentage agrees with the constitution. This is why Daniel Webster in his book said, “It is, Sir, the people’s Constitution, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people” (Daniel 1). This is true because the constitution must be made by the people of a particular community and not from outside.
In the event, the general will approves the set of laws they then become a constitution. It then becomes legally binding such that those that fail to follow the rules and regulations are subjected to punishment by the judicial system.
The constitution is referred to as belonging to the people because they are the ones who make it legally binding by voting for it. Voting meaning they agreed to abide by it and that they agreed to its terms and conditions. The citizens, therefore, become answerable to their government since they become subject to the choices they make. If a constitution becomes oppressive with time the blame game of the minority may start against the proposers. This is because this minority feels that they were deprived of their rights. They blame those who supported the constitution.
People demand a new constitution to improve their livelihoods and free themselves. It comes when citizens feel that the present constitution is subjecting them to slavery and so the need for a better constitution: “This leads us to inquire into the origin of this government and the source of its power. Whose agent is it? Is it the creature of the State Legislatures, or the creature of the people?”(Daniel 1). However, it has been pointed out that the constitution is prone to be abused at times. Those in power may manipulate the passing of a constitution even when such a document enslaves the people voting for it.
The poor are then left out and just find themselves becoming slaves. In some countries especially in Africa, the citizens have voted for constitutions that have subjected them to exploitation. This brings about a large difference between the poor and the rich. Those who are poor have become poorer, while the rich have become richer. If the constitution was made for the people, it should take care of their needs; mind their labor, and their rights. Complaints that are brought up by those in power show a great excuse when they blame the citizens who voted for the constitution. The interests of the composers are well established with time.
It forms deep roots that become too difficult for the people to uproot. What should citizens do? This becomes the source of crime, the source of violence, poverty, and inequality. The citizens need their freedom, they need their rights but they watch as another human being, just like themselves without anything special than them, hurting them so deeply. The powerless people become the servants and slaves of the great people, the schemers.
The constitution also forms the basis of selection. For example, education sieves out the people, who become leaders. Leadership is therefore not a result of talent and ability. The rich families educate their children in the so-called best schools. But one asks himself, what about those who have the talent but with no resources to nurture this talent? Their wisdom and knowledge are never brought to light except for the few lucky ones.
Thus though the constitution is made by the people it is not subject to the opinion of the majority who formed it. It should fully perform the purpose for which it was formed and fulfill people’s expectations. However, some advantages control bad behavior and crime and it forms a stage for people to exercise leadership.
Without these laws in the constitution, the world would become inhabitable to most people. The bloodthirsty men would lay their hands on the innocent. Many would die at expense of those exercising their experiments and people would be irresponsible. If one now commits a crime he knows there is a fine or jailing after the crime and hence majority avoids crimes.
Bill of rights
Bills of rights are clauses in a constitution that originated as a result of people feeling imprisoned by the present constitution. Thus, their importance is paramount. People, therefore, needed to set themselves free and hence called for amendments in the constitution. James Madison was the first to bring up this topic in the first congress of the United States of America. These rights restricted the use of power by the government.
They included the freedom of worship, association, right to speak, and the use of media. Twelve issues were proposed but not all of them were approved. In 1971, ten bills of rights were added to the former constitution. Patrick Henry said “Give me Liberty or give me death!” (Williamsburg 1) This is a person who could fight to the death for his freedom. The bill of rights was such an important aspect in the fight for freedom without weapons, but only by writing it down. This was mainly to protect the people’s freedom as well as to limit those who seemed to have it all. In the United States of America, amendments were made to the constitution.
Firstly the constitution was to give freedom to religious groups and give freedom of speech and the press. Secondly, the citizens had a right to own arms and not as before where only a few groups of people could own firearms. Thirdly the bill of rights looked at the security of the people. The soldiers have also deprived the right to intrude people’s houses with no reason and unnecessary searches in homes were prohibited. All people were subject to the law regardless of their position in the government. This included leaders who were also to be equally accountable for their actions.
The nature of human beings to have freedom will always be there. The government should always work to protect its citizens. Basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing should be availed to the people at affordable rates. Human labor should also have a minimum limit so that everyone can afford to live a comfortable life regardless of the nature of work. The government is therefore responsible for establishing laws in the constitution which are meant to regulate the workforce done by the people. The laws should also protect its citizens from overworking.
Other rights include business, family, and gender-related. In families, children for example have a right to get a good education. Therefore a parent cannot stop a child from going to school so that he or she can work at home. These rights limit even those who are very close to a person such as a parent or a husband. Gender rights such as the rights for women to own property after divorce subject men to respond because they know it will cost them. This mostly contributes positively to good values in society.
The decisions that are made by the government are very important. It is its role to protect its citizens from exploitation. Some of the immigrants in a country can become a good platform for the exploitation of the citizens. This is an indirect form of colonization whereby the immigrants in the country invest heavily in their foreign country. These immigrants slowly grow and exploit the natives of the land to grow their businesses by poor wages. With time the immigrants become very strong for the government to handle them or to get them from their country.
The government should also be prepared to handle disasters by having well-strategized organizations for natural and other disasters. This is to protect the people from great losses that they might not be able to incur. Disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and fires are some of the things that the government is supposed to be prepared for always.
All citizens are also entitled to certain commodities such as water, good housing. Therefore the government is held accountable for the welfare of the citizens. Some of the laws however have some negative impacts resulting from the bill of rights. The rights and liberty that was given to the media have negative social impacts because some of the people have gone overboard. The fast communication of the negatives in society can easily bring violence. On the other hand, communication has become a very powerful tool in development and transparency. Each community develops its values from experience. Children in the same society are mostly having common values.
Without this bill of rights, most citizens would be prone to exploitation but these few clauses have delivered freedom to them. There is therefore great freedom for all and this is a way of promoting equality.
Thomas B. Macaulay was an English politician, essay, and historian best known for the history of England. Born in 1800 October 25th, he was the son of the African colonial governor and notably anti-slavery philanthropist Zachary Macaulay. He began to write poetry and history at the young age of ten, and later when he went to Trinity College, he was given a prize for essay writing on the character of William and having given the anti-slavery address, it was notably published in the popular magazine of that period when political heat was high.
To a greater extent, I think that revolution was necessary for the people although people would deplore outranges which accompany revolution.
The revolution taking place in the country, though there would be violence and abuse of human rights, fluctuation in the social-economic and political development of the people, there would be a change that people would be waiting for tantamount to the general will of the people. There is a possibility that the previous government system or ruling system was not effective in the sense that people were abused by either the colonial powers or dictatorship.
Also, revolution carried violently could mean that people were oppressed in a great way to reach an apex of defiance where necessities were denied, and either some of the closest members were murdered. This could be a violation of the human right to live and express oneself freely. The revolution could mean that people could have necessities and have their rights respected to a greater extent.
Revolution through causes outrange that some would be in remorse for it. I think that a great deal of positive change could happen afterward. For example, in the French revolution:
The French Revolution brought about great changes in the society and government of France. The revolution, which lasted from 1789 to 1799, also had far-reaching effects on the rest of Europe. It introduced democratic ideals to France but did not make the nation a democracy. However, it ended the supreme rule by French kings and strengthened the middle class. After the revolution began, no European kings, nobles, or other privileged groups could ever again take their powers for granted or ignore the ideals of liberty and equality. (Woloch 1)
From the above excerpt the previous rule by the French King was oppressing the middle class of people and the poor, also, people’s social-economic status was deteriorating at a very high rate with the rich having the priority. Freedom was limited to the lower class of people and the power of the public was ignored with rulers abusing their power.
If the revolution had not taken place many people would be denied their right with the high class doing as they wish but with the revolution has taken place the plight of women has been recognized and women were given positions of power and responsibilities and this has refuted itself with their potential producing profitable work and success; equivalently, men have appreciated work done by women and male chauvinism has been triumphantly reduced. At public and social places people have mixed up with no discrimination of social status and this has spread extensively throughout the country. This, interestingly, spread through Europe.
People have recognized the power of freedom of expression and have exercised democracy with a large perspective which has to lead to people contributing to the government freely leading to a government of the people by the people of any class. The support of the people to the government and vice versa has rekindled the power of living in unity and harmony promoting tolerance among its citizenry. With this France has become one of the strong European Nation which earns great respect.
With democracy and freedom, Investment and France’s Market economy has grown tremendously with their Gross Domestic Product growing to 2.65 trillion dollars which is a great achievement in the millennium era. This supports that the economic development brought by people in unity and harmony after revolution strengthened the middle class and poor people.
Revolution was a necessity for the rights of people. After the revolution in France, people came out strongly to protest their right, which meant that people had come out of their ignorance, in the streets as in this excerpt:
The civil disorder became a common scene after the storming of the Bastille in 1789. After a few years, the French intellectuals who rode the banner of liberalism as the forerunners of the revolution issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Through this document, they aimed at shifting the authority of issuing basic human rights from the Church, or God so to say, to the state government. The King’s crown that was a symbol of Catholic Christianity was replaced with a red liberty cap that represented the state as an authority. (Kwintessential 1)
The French people were able to have their rights not withheld by the church as the only one to enforce human rights but to the democratic government which would exercise the respect of human rights throughout the nation. This shows that the government would have the power to execute any person who would violate human rights ensuring protection to all citizenry. This was contrary to what it would be without revolution.
Firstly, all men are equal in the state of nature such as body and mind. Inequality comes as a result of environment and ownership. Secondly; citizens are responsible for the growth and development of their society. Their decisions are very important as they form the government. Thirdly; a constitution forms the laws that govern a community. This constitution however should not be exploitative but should protect the citizens and promote equality.
Also, the citizens and the government should have powers that promote the welfare of all people. Lastly, the revolution was a necessity for growth and development in social-economic and politics, thus agreeing to a greater extent with Thomas B. Macaulay.
Daniel, Webster. Second Reply to Robert Hayne. US Inform, n.d. Web.
Kwintessential. Effects of the French Revolution. Kwintessential, n.d. Web.
Rousseau et al. America’s Survival Guide. America, 2011.
Williamsburg, Colonial. Give me or Give me death. Colonial Williamsburg, 2011. Web.
Woloch, Isser. The French revolution. Laughter Geneology, 1998. Web.