Review the Declaration of Independence and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Question Description

I’m working on a Sociology exercise and need support.

Is our current government structure very closely approximates the intent of the Founding Fathers?  If not, should there or should there not be an effort to return to our origins? Why or why not?

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Final Answer

Our current government structure bases its laws and policies on the basic principles that are intended in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Pledge of Allegiance, etc. Those basic principles were not merely based on politics, but on the general accepted notions of the Enlightenment period of the 18th century.

This period of time was radical because for the first time "man",  and not God, was at center stage. Before that, namely in the dark ages and middle ages,  people were limited as to how much they could know and discover. Centuries later, the Enlightenment finally gave mankind the green light to think, judge, and interact with the world around them as inquisitively as possible.

The Declaration of Independence holds the ideas of John Locke, namely the ones that state that men are equal, that men have rights such as life and liberty. It was Jefferson who drew Locke's philosophies and added them to our Declaration.

Enlightenment thinkers also came up with the concepts that we see in our government structure: checks and balances (the three branches: executive, judiciary and legislative), separation of powers (church separates from state, each branch does its own thing and then checks each other to avoid overpowering).

Therefore, our government structure has been designed to follow those concepts of the Enlightenment, safeguarding the rights of each individual, engaging in due processes, and ensuring that there is less government (the federal government ruling it all and not letting the states rule themselves). Added to that are the  concepts of separation of power and checks and balances previously mentioned.

An effort to revert back to what our founding fathers would have wanted would be anachronistic. The idea behind the U.S. government that was conceived back in the 17th and 18th centuries had purposes much different from the dynamics of 21st century America. Back in the days of the revolution, a group of colonists asked their imperialist bullies to release them from their oaths to the Crown and to allow them to make the colonies their new country. Their need for checks and balances, separation of power, etc. came from the issues that arose back in their time, which were in part the reason why they had to leave their motherland. Nowadays, we need to look closely and see to what extent the state governments are functioning. If they are failing, there is no doubt that the federal government needs to get involved for the sake of safeguarding the rights to "life and liberty" of those Americans affected by bad state government.

The Americans of the 18th century may not have liked such an idea, but they did not have those kinds of problems to the extent that we have them today. An example is found in how states are ranking in education standards in the 21st century. Whether Americans liked it or not, No Child Left Behind (2001) is an example of the federal government "going in" to solve a problem that was happening at the state-level. This is something that would not fit in the idea behind "less government" first proposed by our founding fathers, but it is still a reality that states were failing and something had to be done, whether it worked in the long run or not. Therefore, there should not be an "effort" to go back to the basic rules of the founding fathers. Instead, we should contour laws and policies so that they can meet the demands of the changing times.

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