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Government Structures and Social Norms

The paper will examine an interdependent relationship between government and society. Governmental structure, duties and divisions of administration will be analyzed in comparison to the social norms, needs of people and preferred ways of ruling. Philosophical views of Edmund Burke, Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville will be compared to illustrate the correct understanding of social norms and types government.

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The moral laws and justice are based on equality, honesty, freedom and liberty of a person, are the same for everyone and the adherence to the said laws must be accomplished through all possible avenues, even if it is inconvenient and detrimental to anyone in charge.

Edmund Burke focuses on French Revolution and the connection between people, government and duties each one has towards another. He gives specific points about society and the military action that has erupted.

  • Point 1: The fact that French Revolution took place shows how much society was displeased with the state of affairs and government. Edmund Burke believed that the government should base its rule on respect and kindness towards people. Violence is questioned as being the last resource but also, as an inevitable avenue for social disagreement with politics of a nation.
  • Point 2: Burke was an avid supporter of independence and society free of any prejudice and unequal treatment in relation to a person and their property.

Montesquieu concludes that as power sometimes has the ability to corrupt a person, its treatment must be carefully structured and organized.

  • Point 1: The duty of government is to focus on the common good and morals of people, whereas another form of government can have personal interests and usurper the power with selfish and indifferent goals. Political division on monarchy, aristocracy and commons is discussed, as being a required part of every society.
  • Point 2: The general laws and rules of governance must be based on the benefit for the majority of people. The reason that governments exist, is for the sole purpose of providing the best possible living conditions for people. Any type of governance that is unable to accomplish moral and ethical ruling must be taken off the position of that power.

Alexis de Tocqueville states guidelines on the way a country should be run and the most important principles of life and liberty that must be considered.

  • Point 1: The laws are made for the order and control of society but also to preserve individuals from unfair treatment by others and the government. The highest laws must be based on kindness, respect and liberty.
  • Point 2: Any society has a direct responsibility towards itself and the government to demand and receive freedoms that are natural and God given. It is possible to see that people have to rise up and protect their way of life and order that they demand.

All three philosophers agree on the following topics.

  • Point 1: Even though people are sometimes prejudiced, it is the responsibility of the government to overlook unjust actions, instating order and exemplary action through neutrality.
  • Point 2: Authority of government must be divided, as to support the principals of social justice. These should be based on honor, honesty and respect—not on fear of governmental punishment and retaliation.
  • Point 3: The majority must be the ruling force of any nation and the greater good is determined by the population and not individuals. Different perspectives are discussed in the search for most beneficial outcome.

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