Weldon Sloan The founding ethos of American government can be characterized by three basic principles, the basis for law, the basis for government, and the duties of the citizen. The most accurate and best representation of early American society can be found in the early colonial charters which acted as the first governments in America. The first aspect of the founding ethos of American government can be found in the basis for law. The basis for law according to the early Americans was people being in covenant (Mayflower Compact).
In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were governed by an internal law, a law of the heart placed in them when they were made in God’s image (Frame of the Government of Pennsylvania).
However, after the fall man was governed by an external law; a law given to Moses by God in a covenant with His people, a law meant for sinful man (Whitehead and Frame of the Government of Pennsylvania).
The ethos can also be found in the early American’s basis for social order. This basis, was very similar to the basis for law; the basis for social order is a civil body coming into a covenant, in the presence of God (Mayflower Compact).
The role of government as defined by the early charters is also vital when considering the founding ethos. The role of government was originally defined as maintaining the peace and unity of the people, with its guide being the Bible (Fundamental Orders of Connecticut).
No degree of persecution complex on the part of the Northern Territory Chief Minister, Mr. Denis Burke, can change the fact that the death of a 15-year old Aboriginal, Johnno Warramarrba, is a result of the territory s draconian sentencing laws. People will rub their hands with glee and say Burke s got blood on his hands because of mandatory sentencing, Mr. Burke said. It was the lowest of the low ...
The charters say that a government was needed because of man’s sinful nature, if it wasn’t for this every individual could take care of himself (Frame of the Government of Pennsylvania).
This also reveals why separations of powers were needed, to keep one evil, sinful man from controlling the whole country (Constitution of Virginia).
The Christian base for American government is also revealed in the qualifications and source of authority for civic rulers; a civil ruler must be a member of an accepted church congregation (Fundamental Orders of Connecticut), because His power came from the word and power of God (Frame of the Government of Pennsylvania).
The last basic evidence of the founding ethos can be found in the duties of the citizen. The power of early government was seen as being based and drawn from the consent of the governed (Declaration of Independence).
It is the citizen’s duty to change the government if it no longer meets his needs and protects his rights (Declaration of Independence).
The basis for freedom according to the early Americans lied in the word of God, because God is the Lord of the conscience freedom of religion should be allowed (Pennsylvania Charter).
This goes hand in hand with the early American’s view of the basis for rights; man’s rights were seen as inalienable, innate within him because he contained the image of God (Declaration of Independence).