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Ap American History- Dbq Divine Authority

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Autor:   •  May 13, 2011  •  1,025 Words (5 Pages)  •  563 Views

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"During colonial period, religion provided the primary rationale for the authority of the king" Evaluate

Religion was a primary factor in day to day life in colonial times. Minor decisions weren't made without first thinking what God would "say". Therefore something as important as choosing the king must be done with God in mind. Many believed that God appoints the king directly. Many questions were raised about God's role in delegating authority: Does authority come from God? How do we know that a person is God's pick? Did he assign a given king? Do the subjects have a say? If God's delegate becomes corrupt may the subjects revolt? Is it disrespectful to God if they do? These questions and more prompted the responses we have in Documents A-C.

I will go in decreasing order of strictness against revolt. J. Boucher (Document B) was a big supporter of the monarchy. He believed that God delegate the king as his messenger. Therefore he feels that to revolt would be to spit in God's face (a figurative face of course.) The ultimate freedom in his opinion is submission to the rule of the king. At first glance this makes little sense. I soon realized that this was taken from numerous places in the Old Testament where it is stated that the best way to be free is to serve God. Viz a viz, one can be free by serving God's servant, the king.

According to Boucher's school of thought, revolution leads to damnation. If a king is tyrannical who is on a level to protest since all of the kings actions are from God? Who can deny a "gift" from God? To be a naysayer against the king is heresy. It is the role of each individual in the society to squelch rebellion.

Boucher and those like him were run out of town so to speak. Boucher returned to England and his beloved monarchy. Slightly less strict and much more accepted were the opinions of J. Mayhew (Doc. A) and those like him. They believe that a king is divinely chosen but is not impervious to evil and temptation. Should a king become corrupt, the peasants have the right to, if not requirement to, overthrow him. God appointed the king to represent Him, if he does so poorly he should be removed from this position. Also, God wants people to protect themselves. To sit idly while you or a friend is being oppressed is frowned upon by God. God gave people the power to override his decrees for self preservation. Therefore subjects of a tyrant should revolt. It is unjust that one man can make an entire nation suffer. Christians find it okay that a man suffered on behalf of a nation. (i.e. Jesus) The king will lose his power to benefit the subjects. At the end of this speech Mayhew puts several qualifiers on his acceptance of revolt. He wants the people to be loyal and free at the same time. Government is sacred and a messenger of God that needs to be repopulated now and again. Most importantly, do not use religion or patriotism as an excuse for wrong doing.

John Locke summarizes the next school of thought on the issue of God's role in delegating authority: none. Locke, Hobbes and other enlightenment thinkers debated about the natural state of man. Locke was famous for his belief that people are not naturally good or bad but are rather "tabula rasa" or blank slates,

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