European Influence on American Constitution and American Citizenship

European Influence on American Constitution and American Citizenship

The modern American society is bound by a long political, social and economic history. Early colonization by Europe molded the country into its current state. Most importantly, the United States operates under the three major founding documents which include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other documents written in the 18th Century by different individuals who were concerned about the American future. As such, citizenship in the USA is outlined in the founding documents such that the constitution outlines the rights and responsibilities of the American citizens.  Since the founding documents, including the Constitution, were written by several people who mostly came from Europe, it is clear that the American constitution is shaped and influenced by Europe. Individuals such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Baron de Montesquieu directly influenced the US constitution through their various writings. Besides, constitutional ideas such as non-intrusive government stems, separation of powers, and equality among citizens emerged from European thinkers who were trying to incorporate such rights and responsibilities in the US.

Firstly, the idea of non-intrusive government stems in America emerged from one of the European philosophers known as Jean-Jacques Rousseau who expressed this through the Social Contract theory 91762) (Bailyn 97). According to him, man is a free creature who should be allowed to intervene at any point of a chain. He believes that laws can only be binding when supported by who exist in the target society. Therefore, Rousseau tried to bring out the idea that citizens have the rights to control the society they live in and so they can break the chain of management. In this case, he was supporting the idea of democracy and free participation in politics by all the American citizens which are contained in the American constitution.

Besides, the US constitution outlines that there should be a separation of powers in the government. The idea was first adopted by Baron de Montesquieu in his writing, the Spirit of Laws. According to him, separation of powers into executive, legislature, and judiciary could make it easier for the government to lead its citizens by ensuring that their rights are safeguarded by the different arms of governance. For instance, the legislature gives citizens the right to vote to choose leaders. Thus, Baron de Montesquieu, who was from the Roman Republic contributed to the current constitution of the United States and the concept of right and responsibilities of American citizens.

Lastly, the American constitution puts it clear that all citizens are equal and so they should be subjected to similar rights. This idea was first passed by the Europeans during the enlightenment era. Besides, John Locke in Two Treatises of Government stated that all people are equal in society and so they should be subjected to similar treatment (Perlingeiro 261). After gaining independence, the US passed a law that supported equality among its citizens. Therefore, it is clear that Europe influenced it in formulating laws in its constitution.

Having discussed some of the rights and responsibilities of the American constitution as per the constitution, it is apparent that they were influenced by Europeans who had earlier on colonized it. This is also evident through the opinions from different European philosophers such as John Locke. The philosophers also contributed to the American constitution through their written opinions. For example, Baron de Montesquieu who came of the Roman Republic wrote about the separation of powers which was then documented in the American constitution. Therefore, the American constitution and the concept of rights and responsibilities of citizens were influenced by Europeans.


Work Cited

Bailyn, Bernard. The ideological origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 2017.

Perlingeiro, R. (2016). A Historical Perspective on Administrative Jurisdiction in Latin America: Continental European Tradition versus US Influence. British Journal of American Legal Studies, 5(1), 241-289.

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