Liberty Explored: Perspectives from Montesquieu, John Winthrop, and Roger Williams - Free Report

Published: 2024-01-05
Liberty Explored: Perspectives from Montesquieu, John Winthrop, and Roger Williams - Free Report
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Government Society Historical & political figures
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1009 words
9 min read

Prompt One

Martin Luther argues that the non-ordained church members or the laypersons have equal rights and responsibilities with the clergy (Luther). God gave the people of the nation of Israel the same call. This means that those in religious authority are not as special as the congregants. Whether ordained or not, every Christian has the responsibility of proclaiming the goodness of God. Those in religious authority, however, help to preach the gospel to those in the darkness.

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Locke argues that there is equality in the state of nature whereby no one has power over the other; therefore, each person has the freedom to do what pleases them (Locke). The state of nature is characterized by the absence of government and the presence of mutual obligation. Every individual is endowed with the right to liberty, possession as life. Therefore, the purpose of the government is to promote the security of people's right to property, life, and liberty. In such a state of nature, therefore, it isn't easy to protect these natural rights hence the necessity of the government.

Revolution occurs when the government violates its trust or the purpose for which it was formed (Locke). Revolution is justified if there is a very bad government that does not care about the rights of the government. Long-sustained abuse is, therefore, a justifiable reason for revolution. One of the ways of dissolving the government is by altering the legislature. A revolution is not justified if the government protects the rights of its citizens.

Benjamin Franklin is one of the notable American historical figures as he was a statesman, publisher, scientist, author, diplomat, and inventor. One of the ways in which he personifies individualism is by moving to Philadelphia and successfully setting up a venture with little money (Franklin). The second way that personifies Benjamin’s individualism is the desire to read and learn to gain the knowledge necessary in his book club venture. This shows that he is a self-made individual who relies on his potential and utilizes his strengths. The other thing that personifies Benjamin’s individualism is his opinion regarding following the virtues. Benjamin believed that each individual should do what they want rather than follow the virtues all the time. Individualism contributes to liberty as people are free from the oppressive restrictions of the state or society (Montesquiedeu).

As per the Albany Plan proposed by Ben Franklin, colonies should have individual centralized governments (Franklin et al). The British colony would appoint the President General to lead the new government. The Grand Council would be appointed to assist the president, and every colony would have representatives in the Council depending on the population of the colony. Each state would, however, have one vote regardless of the size and the population.

Prompt Two

Montesquieu defines liberty as the exercise of one's will where people have the right and freedom to exercise their freedoms. Montesquieu argued that the best way to retain liberty in government was through the separation of powers between the three arms of government and having checks and balances to ensure the arms of government worked as a team (De Montesquieu). Montesquieu thinks that the English constitution is an example of a constitution that embraces liberty by having a clear separation of powers by the arms of government remaining independent but working in consultations to serve the people.

John Winthrop believed that a good society is defined by the morals of the people and their mutual duties in following the model of Christian beliefs. John Winthrop believed that societies should be organized based on their religious groupings to be able to control human behavior. Puritanism helps in organizing society despite the differences in society (Winthrop). The Winthrop Society has people with the same historical backgrounds; hence there are minimal conflicts among the people. John Winthrop's ideas resemble the ideas of Calvin and Montesquieu, where they all agree that society can be united and easily controlled through religious leadership (Calvin).

Winthrop prescribes that societies embrace liberty as an example of freedom and justice because the people have the right to engage in activities of their wish without being controlled (Winthrop). Freedom and justice are manifested by civil policies such as the right to religion. Winthrop believed that freedom and justice were the principles of liberty.

Roger Williams and John Winthrop disagree on the idea of going to the New World; they both joined in the Puritan to New England. They disagreed on Christianity where the Church of England was separated from religious liberty (Winthrop). Roger Williams did not believe the Christian religion to be the only religion of God; he believed that God had given the people the right and freedom to choose the religion they wanted to be associated with. Winthrop believed that Christianity was the only religion of God and that other religions worship other idols.

The Puritan idea in the description of the society from Tocqueville is that attitudes and ethics affect the people. Tocqueville is based on Christianity and how it influences American society (George). Religion has a major role to play in society by uniting people with the same interests (Cotton). Puritan society was free and just because the religion purified the politics of corruption where all the people got fairness and justice.

Works Cited

Calvin, John. "Chapter 20, Institutes Of The Christian Religion Book 4, John Calvin, Christian Classics Books At Biblestudytools.Com". Biblestudytools.Com, 2017,

Cotton, John. "Letter to an English Nobleman". Oll.Libertyfund.Org, 2012, Montesquieu, Charles. Montesquieu: The spirit of the laws. Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Franklin, Benjamin, et al. "Albany Plan of Union." July 10 (1754): 1754.

George, William Henry. "Montesquieu and de Tocqueville and corporative individualism." Am. Pol. Sci. Rev. 16 (1922): 10.

Locke, John. Second treatise of government. Strelbytskyy Multimedia Publishing, 2020.

Luther, Martin. An open letter to the Christian nobility. Board of Publications of the Lutheran Church in America, 1943.

Montesquiedeu, Charles Secondat. "The spirit of the laws." (1989).

The Autobiography. Excerpt in Heritage of American Literature, 1790.

Winthrop, Governor John. "The Winthrop Society: A Model of Christian Charity". Winthropsociety.Com, 1630, Accessed 2 Oct 2020.

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Liberty Explored: Perspectives from Montesquieu, John Winthrop, and Roger Williams - Free Report. (2024, Jan 05). Retrieved from

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