Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rival Political Scientists: Adams and Condorcet

In 1787 and 1788, Condorcet and Adams would prove themselves to be rivals in attempting to influence the overall orientation of the coming revolution. One author has identified them as two Newtonian physicists arguing over the best way to turn government into a science. Condorcet used the method of strict mathematics. Adams employed weights and measures. Condorcet sought to replace history and philosophy with the science of enlightenment. Adams thought that history and philosophy led man to the science of enlightenment. Condorcet, along with Turgot, took one powerful national legislature to be the ideal form of government to replace a powerful king. Adams thought such a legislature would be given over too readily to the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. Better, he thought, to grant something like a senate or house of lords to the powerful and wealthy, so that their influence could be felt and then checked (Thompson, 368-375).

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Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

I don't know much about the other theorists other than to wonder if their ideas took into account, seriously, that any system of government should be concerned with the question: what safeguards are there if someone tries to use our government for his/her own purposes?
JA was most cautious and said it was best to have the checks and balances safeguards against the effects of Original Sin in us all. Therefore the bicameral legislature was an important component to the checks/balances.
Bicameral legislatures will not guarantee freedom: the Reichstat that Hitler bullied into submission in 1931 was bicameral. I think that our greatest danger in the USA today is the astonishing amount of money that must be raised (or come from the candidate's own deep pockets) to run for Congress, Senate, President.

It is also interesting how often those with an idea or POV will try to dress it up in the trappings of "science" for credibility.

9:04 AM  

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