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Documents Of Limited Government

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Throughout the history of the United States the idea of limited government has always been present. The philosophy of limited government is to limit the power of the government in order to secure the individual unalienable rights and liberties. One document that is still held in high regards clearly outlines the limits of our own government. It is the Constitution in which these limits of power and duty are outlined. Although this document was not the first to present this philosophy. Before it came many others which ultimately contributed to the Constitution.

Through its long history the Magna Carta was an important stepping stone in the development of the theory of limited government. Although at the time in which the Magna Carta was written, it did not apply to many of the people. And more so less today. Yet from the Magna Carta it is believed that the important principles of jury by trial were derived. Other principles such as the right to a fair trial and no taxation without representation were also derived from the Magna Carta.

Nearly 400 years after the Magna Carta came the Mayflower Compact. The document was never aimed at claim independence from England but rather to proclaim a self government. The opening statement clearly states that they are still loyal to King James. The rest of the document is not very long and simply goes on to state their settlement of the land. This document,although, was an important contribution to the Constitution in the sense that it prescribed the first idea's of self government.

A great example of the beginning seeds of limited government is the Declaration of Independence. In the declaration it states that each person is entitled to certain unalienable rights which are supposed to be protected by our government. The declaration voices that whichever powers are granted to the private citizens are also granted to the government. Whatever powers not granted to these citizens are also not granted to the government and if acted upon would violate the declaration. For example if a private citizen is not allowed, at will, take the property of another without just cause, then the government also does not have that same right. Exceptions to this example are things such as the right for the government to keep an army. While private citizens are obviously not allowed to keep armies, the purpose of such organizations is kept within the best interest of the population and is therefore deemed appropriate use of a power not granted to private citizens.

Another document of very significant importance are the Two Treatise by John Locke. In these treatise he refutes the monarchs absolute power as stated in Robert



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