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Why Was The United States Goverment Founded?

            The United States government was founded with the negative goal of preventing tyranny. Its framers were interested in rights of the people only as an afterthought; their logic was clear. If tyranny can be prevented, then freedom will be maximized to the limits that society itself imposes. Thus the theme of prevention of tyranny is the most significant theme presented by a study of the government. It is through this thematic lens that this essay will examine the following questions. How does Law have legitimate standing in American System? What are the functions and sources of American Law? What are the functions and procedures of each branch of government with regards to the law? How have those procedures changed over time? Finally, do Judges make or find law?.
             In addressing the first question, the question of legitimacy of government is all but asked. This complex issue can be boiled down to the question "who gives the government its power?" In medieval monarchies, God supposedly granted the monarch legitimacy through primogeniture. This does not work for a bureaucracy however, as not everyone can be firstborn. What then gives the legislature the right to lay taxes and raise armies? Hobbes and Locke provide the answers to this question in the form of a social contract. This theory states that man is naturally free. He gives up some of his freedoms to the government in exchange for a standardization of certain rules for living with other men. In the case of the United States government, its laws derive their authority from the constitution. They are defined using a procedure established by the constitution for the legislative branch. The constitution owes its legitimacy to the Declaration of Independence, which all but quotes Locke's views of the social contract.
             Remembering the theme of tyranny prevention, the previous question takes on a subtle new meaning. How do the laws inherently prevent their invalidation through tyranny, tyranny by definition being illegitimate? The simple answer to this question is the constitution.

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