Here in Kansas today is Caucus day. Over the next few hours thousands of people all over our state will gather to cast their vote for their preferred nominee. It seems appropriate on a day like to day to reflect a bit on the nature and foundation of the American form of government. Over the years, many people have written on what made (and makes) America unique. Recently I finished a course on Political Philosophy and my capstone work for that class was to write a a paper examining the philosophical foundations of American Government.
My point in this post is really just to point interested parties to that paper, but to whet your appetite here’s my basic thesis:
Shaped in the context of the Western tradition, the American system of government formed a river which flowed from the confluence of three great streams: the Classical world, the Enlightenment project, and the Christian faith. Each of these streams brought with it a range of influences and thinkers. Sometimes these streams of thought (and even the particular thinkers within a given stream) complemented each other, and at other times they contradicted each other.Each in their own way though, contributed to the philosophical foundations of the American government. In this paper, we will examine how Aristotle (representing the Classical stream), John Locke (representing the Enlightenment stream), and John Calvin (representing the Christian stream), influenced the foundations of American government.