The Origin of Civilization

1899 Words Jun 21st, 2018 8 Pages
The idea of free expression of political thought really came into its own in 18th century
Europe. Writers and thinkers like Adam Smith, Rousseau, and Edmund Burke shared their ideas that still give reasons for consideration even today. Rousseau gave the underpinnings for the French Revolution. Smith gave us the foundations for modern economic theory. Burke gave us the idea of Conservatism, which fathered all other -ism's. While all three of these writers gave us so much, it is important to look back and and see not only where their ideas came from, but also how there were in some ways just different interpretations of the same thing, and where they were in stern disagreement. One of the most important arguments that these men debated is
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They placed a sovereign at the (to) top analogous to the father, and this sovereign is free to lead his people as he sees fit. What Rousseau does is free himself from this constraint, and opens up the possibility of totally different social structures. The idea is that the sovereign is only in charge as long as the people let him. He states this argument in chapter V of the Social Contract.

Burke is the very antithesis of Rousseau. Burke was an Englishman and part of the Whig political party. Because of his political involvement, much of Burke's work sounds like a political speech. For him, a new theory could never carry as much weight as the preexisting school of thought. Old ideas are the way they are because they have stood the test of time, and this is a separate and cumulative legitimacy to that of any logic or reason there is to them.
This is especially true of political organization. If the current structure has lasted for many generations, then there must be something to it. At the most it may need small changes every now and again. Burke makes this explicit when he says about English people: “We know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made in morality, nor many in the great principles of government, nor in the ideas of liberty, which were understood long before we were born...”3 This line and the lines before it make it clear what
Burke thinks of the startling
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