What are the primary purposes of government? Explain using examples from the writings of Enlightenment thinkers.
Since the establishment of humanity, people have banded together in groups and communities. Some say that it is common for humans to flock to one another, as it is an innate quality of human nature. What is it, however, that motivates individuals to form an organized society with laws and regulations in which people have restrictions and statutes by which they must abide? Why are governments expected to protect citizens, maintain order, regulate the economy, provide public goods and services, socialize the nation's youth, and levy taxes? Enlightenment thinkers might say that it is due to the confidence that by cooperating and working conjointly society might better preserve the mutual rights of all: life, liberty, and property.
|John Locke (NNDB.com)|
|The Social Contract (LOC.gov)|
Essentially, because a government is created by its participants under a preconceived notion of what it is meant to achieve, when governmental power strays from that path and abuses the rights it has been given, the people have the right to rebel, dissolve the erroneous institution, and establish a new one that provides them the security for which governments were originally organized. In this way, as Enlightenment thinkers believe, the general purpose of a government is to provide the security and assurance to individuals that was lacking before organized society while still retaining the rights and freedoms that innately belong to them in their natural state.