US Poli Thought: Douglass and Lincoln

  1. Both Douglas and King talk about the apparent tension between friendship and justice. What is Douglas’s view? (See: Speech 1848)
    1. This is an issue each of us must face throughout our lives. What do you do when you have a friend who supports institutions and policies that appear to you to be unjust?

  2. What is the principle of reciprocity?
    1. Quote where it is expressed in Douglass and in Lincoln.
    2. Do you think that it’s possible to accommodate non-reciprocal laws or policy? Otherwise stated, can some asymmetrical policies be justified as policy? What about for groups that have previously been subject to asymmetrical policies? (i.e., diversity policy). Or are these also able to be categorized as reciprocal policies? What is the best way to interpret diversity-type policies. Do they violate equality? Be sure to define the conception of equality you are using.

  3. In Letter to Boston, Lincoln states that when liberty and property rights conflict “the rights of property [should be] secondary, and greatly inferior.”
    1. What does he mean?
    2. Can this be applied outside of its original context?
      1. If yes, give an example.
      2. If no, explain why not.
    3. What is the distinction between liberty rights and claim rights?
    4. Do you think this distinction always applies or can liberty rights sometimes undermine claim rights?
      1. Explain your answer.

  4. Explain and evaluate: Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? […] While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years.