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Lesson 2: What Ideas about Civic Life Informed the Founding Generation?

Lesson Purpose

People frequently make judgments about governments or acts of governments, praising them as "good" or criticizing them as "bad." Those judgments may reflect ideas about human nature, the proper function and scope of government, the rights of individuals, and other values. Political philosophers have discussed these matters for thousands of years. This lesson examines concepts such as the common good, civic virtue, the state of nature, natural rights, consent, and the social contract. These concepts are central to discussions about government.