When forming a government, we have to consider the end of a government and then determine the best form of government. Philosophers argue that the end of a government is brought by the happiness of the society (Cutler). As a result, the best form of government is the one that enables security, comfort, and ease of communication. Notably, this is a government that provides happiness to a large number of individuals. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau advocated for different forms of government. Thomas Hobbes argued that trust is not natural, and in enforcing agreements, a terrifying power has to be created. As a result, he advocated for a sovereign power, which was an individual or a group with the ultimate power. John Locke advocated for paternal authority. Notably, he was involved in a theoretical dilemma between absolute monarchies and a political state. However, he advocated for a government where every individual was able to give his/her consent. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract also advocated for a sovereign where the individual will is inoperative and the corporate will quite subordinate. From the three individuals, the best government to form would be a constitutional democracy.
In a constitutional democracy, the majority has the power to control the government through the constitution. According to Thomas Hobbs, the constitution derives its power from the majority that gives it the power to control the government. This would be better served in a constitutional democracy. Notably, through the constitution, the majority always keeps the government in check. The big majority can also change the constitution when they want to through the process of an amendment at any given time. Also, through the right to self-preservation, a constitutional form of government allows the majority to fight back at an authoritarian government when they see that things are not going the way they are supposed to be going (Hobbes). As a result, in a constitutional democracy, the majority has the final say.
John Locke argued that individual rights such as liberty, property, and life could never voluntarily or willingly be taken away from individuals because they were natural rights. Uniquely the rights were impossible to surrender, and although Locke favored a representative government, these rights are well protected in a constitutional democracy where the citizens have power over the government through the constitution. Consequently, this is because, through the constitution, individuals will ensure that those rights are not violated by the government but are well protected through always following the constitution to govern. In a monarchy, the King does not hold absolute power over the rights of liberty, property, and life but only enforces them. In a constitutional democracy, this power rests in the constitution, which is controlled by citizens through the majority.
According to Locke also argued that individuals had the freedom to speech, thought, and religion as well as property, which was a natural right and the most important. If well enforced individuals can do whatever they want with their property given that they are not an invasion to other people’s rights. Similarly, these freedoms are better reinforced using the constitution, which the majority has control over in a constitutional democracy. Uniquely, in a constitutional government, the society delegates the work of reinforcing the constitution to their elected representatives in the parliament (Locke). The society can recall these representatives and relieve them of their duties if and when they do not serve their interests in the parliament of a constitutional democratic government.
Rousseau argued that it was difficult to find a way of protecting an individual’s property, life, and liberty, while every individual remained free. His solution to this problem was people entering into a social contract where they give up all their rights to the whole community. According to Rousseau, the people will then exercise their rights and make laws that benefit the entire community. He supported a direct democracy by arguing that the House of Representatives, which were made up of elected leaders, could decide the general will of the society (Rousseau). However, as earlier demonstrated, that represented a constitutional democracy that ensures that every individual right and freedom are protected using the constitution, which controls the actions of the government. As a result, it is the best form of government.
In Rousseau’s democracy, every individual is supposed to obey the laws, and in many cases, they were forced to obey the laws as long as they are citizens of the given state. He also argued that all enjoyed property, liberty, security, and justice and protected by the state. Similarly, he argued that all political power must remain with the people via their way of exercising their general will with no separation of powers (Rousseau). Notably, all these values support a constitutional government where the political power of the people remains in the constitution.
Forming a government involves first considering its end before determining the best form of government to adopt. As a result, the best form of government would be one that always supports the happiness of its citizens by ensuring that their rights and freedoms are protected from exploitation. Similarly, people’s will is also supposed to be upheld in the various rules of governing a particular country. Notably, the best form of government that ensures these values is a constitutional democracy where the constitution protects people’s rights and freedoms as well as determining how the government is run.
Cutler, Lloyd N. “To form a government.” Foreign Affairs 59.1 (1980): 126-143.
Hobbes, Thomas. “Leviathan (1651).” Glasgow 1974 (1980).
Locke, John. Second treatise of government and a letter concerning toleration. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. “The social contract, 1762.” (1964): 43.