Mary Wollstonecraft: Ideal Government

An ideal government should be ruled by the people and this is called A democracy, a system in which the whole population elects representatives/ leaders in order to have their voices heard. The United States has a democracy, however, the citizens don’t have a voice in the entire political system. People can vote to elect members of Congress and also elect local and state officials. However citizens cannot vote for the federal judges in the judicial branch, and people cannot vote directly for the president.

This is important because people’s voices and political views aren’t being noticed and the problems brought to judges will be resolved biasedly. Philosophies from John Locke, DuBois, Aristotle, and Mary Wollstonecraft contributed to the creation of this ideal government where virtue has the greatest power and should be shared by all citizens.

An ideal government limits the power of leaders to ensure that power won’t be abused and citizens are given rights in order to guarantee that a person will have their basic needs taken care of.

John Locke is an English philosopher who inspired the creation of many governments today. Locke claims that a strong government is based on the idea of separation of powers. He once stated “Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all fewer penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good.

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”(Tuckness) Here Locke summarizes his ideas on the purpose of a government. He thinks of the government’s work by regulating and preserving property, executing the laws, and defending the commonwealth. However, the government’s main purpose should be to provide well for the public. The functions that a government should uphold connects to the three branches of government. The regulation and preserving property connects to the legislative branch because their job is to create laws, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, control taxing and spending policies, and they can do more like declaring the law. So their job is to maintain the “properties” of the United States. The execution of laws connects to the executive branch because their job is to basically execute the law, it says it in the name. Lastly, the defending commonwealth connects to the judicial branch because their job is to interpret the constitution, limit the other branches’ powers, and bring justice for those who need it.

Locke wrote that everyone is equal in the sense that they are born with certain ‘inalienable’ natural rights. One of Locke’s main ideas on natural rights started with “life, liberty, and property.”(Locke) Many governments across the world believe that people deserve the right to preserve their own life and with that criminals forfeit their right to life since they acted outside the law of reason. Individuals should be free to make choices about how they want to conduct their lives as long as they do not interfere with the liberty of others. Locke referred to “property” as more than just lands and goods that people can obtain. He also meant property over oneself or one’s well being. A former president, however, changed this into ‘pursuit of happiness,’ which Locke had used to describe freedom of opportunity. Locke was able to influence the United States government because he thought about individuals and how they can come together as a community. The separation of powers creates an ideal government because now no branch or individual is more powerful than another. The purpose of a government is to protect people’s state of natural rights, liberty, and property and this is why it is necessary for society to elect those who govern.

W.E.B DuBois is a civil rights activist whose main purpose was to show people of African descent that they have common interests and they should all work together to fight for their freedom. DuBois believed that capitalism causes racism in society. He saw that people were using their ignorance to be unjust. He once stated that “…freedom is ever bounded by Truth and Justice”(Gooding) Meaning a person can only be free if they are honest and morally/ethically sound. The United States has made it easy for federal judges to use their bias against a person because federal judges are elected by the president and approved by the senate. Citizens don’t have a say in who will hear their case. Presidents can and will choose judges that are biased to their political view making it harder for citizens who are trying to be treated equally. A fair justice system needs to balance the concerns for justice. People should get what they need, People should give what they can, people should keep what they have, and People should get what they deserve.

uBois was fighting to get what he deserved, which was equality, he worked so hard in his lifetime and yet people still treated him as if he was inferior to white people. DuBois saw that African Americans had to work twice as hard to get a quarter of the recognition that everyone else got. A fair justice system needs to be influenced by virtue. The four concerns of justice can be reliable only if they are balanced by virtue. A virtue is a trait/quality that is morally acceptable and good which makes it valuable to the justice system. The Greek philosopher Aristotle created a doctrine of the golden mean which said that for every virtue there were two ends, one for each extreme. Aristotle noticed that a functioning society has people obeying the law in order to be just. However, the problem with this is that many laws were and still are being created to favor one group in society than others. He analyzed justice to fairness and said: “distributive justice involves dividing benefits and burdens fairly among members of a community, while corrective justice requires us, in some circumstances, to try to restore a fair balance in interpersonal relations where it has been lost.”(Pomerleau) So if a person in a community has been given advantages unfairly or if those opportunities have been taken away because of the unfair laws, then corrective justice must be required by a court of law. In an ideal government, justice should be what people rely on when their voices aren’t being heard. Instead, people look at the justice system as broken because it has failed so many people. The justice system needs to treat people with equality and in many cases in the past, it hasn’t.

Mary Wollstonecraft is an English philosopher and advocate of women’s rights. She wrote the book “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1792, and in this book, she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. Which raises the question, how could everyone be equal? And the simple answer is to have equal rights. If one sex can get the opportunity to a better more profound education than the other sex should have the same. She wrote, ‘If women are by nature inferior to men, their virtues must be the same in quality, if not in degree, or virtue is a relative idea; consequently, their conduct should be founded on the same principles, and have the same aim.'(Wollstonecraft) One of her major arguments is that women are naturally inferior to men from a moral perspective. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others believe this too. However, Rousseau argued that women’s virtues had to be different from men’s because women are naturally inferior to men. Wollstonecraft strongly disagreed, explaining that while men were physically different from women, both sexes were created with souls and are able to develop their reasons and tried to perfect their virtue. Women are only inferior to men because of their place in society.

Virtue is not related to sex but to individual differences, which means that everyone’s actions should come from the same moral principles and have the same kind of human goals. Wollstonecraft thought that men and women are equal in the eyes of God, which means that they are both subject to the same moral law. The majority of history women weren’t given an equal opportunity to a successful and independent life. Women depended on men in order to maintain social survival. An ideal government would have an education system where both sexes had the same opportunities. ‘But I still insist, that not only the virtue but the knowledge of the two sexes should be the same in nature, if not in degree and that women, considered not only as moral but rational creatures, ought to endeavor to acquire human virtues (or perfections) by the same means as men, instead of being educated like a fanciful kind of half being, one of Rousseau’s wild chimeras.'(Wollstonecraft) Education is one of the major themes Wollstonecraft talks about. The education women receive is inferior to men and it causes their lower-ranking status. Their education is irrelevant and sometimes a joke. They do not learn anything serious nor important, and even if they do it is not important to help them gain a better life.

Wollstonecraft opened up the idea concept that everyone deserves the same opportunity to advance in society. She wants everyone to have the same status before the law which is reasonable in order to create a non-biased society. The education for females is so different from male education that it results in women who are ignorant and lazy. Till today there are women around the world who have never opened a book. There are countries where females getting an education is illegal. All of those women are living but none of them have experienced life for themselves. They live to serve people because they don’t understand how valuable their life is. The type of equality a government should have is one that shares opportunities and responsibilities in society. For example, If one citizen can vote directly for president (electoral college) then all citizens should be able to vote directly to the president.

An ideal government should be influenced by the philosophies of John Locke, DuBois, Aristotle, and Mary Wollstonecraft. The United States government is based on ideas of limited government which includes natural rights, popular sovereignty, republicanism, and social contracts. These all make up an ideal government but only if the citizens of that country have a say in their political system. Citizens should have a say the laws that are being made and they should have a say on who will represent their country. The justice system needs to treat people with equality, everybody deserves equal opportunity to advance in society, and the leaders of a country should divide their powers to provide a space where individuals are free to make their own decisions and still be able to connect as a community. It is important that virtue is what people live by because it allows growth within yourself and the people around you. If the government can work with separate communities and finds what connects them then the country will become even stronger because everyone will have a say in the system. When everyone can agree on something it lowers the hate people get, it lowers the social status that steals people’s opportunities, and it creates this place of comfort knowing that your small voice will be heard.

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Mary Wollstonecraft: Ideal Government. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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