Walt Whitman Vs Laissez-Faire Research Paper

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During the 19th century there were two different schools of political thought that emereged in the government. The two schools debated over the rights of the individual citizen guarenteed by the government and also the governments role in an individual citizen’s life. Laisse-faire was one of these ideas which followed the logic that the government was “...to make no more laws than those useful for preventing a man or body of men from infringing on the rights of other men,” (Whitman) that the government owes nothing more then "...peace, order and the guarantees of rights." (Sumner) The other school was the idea of expanding rights and participation in government. This idea would be fostered by creating each citizen equal from birth thus…show more content…
Whitman wroted that the governments role was to be "... not of an officious intermeddler in the affairs of men, but of a prudent watchman who prevents outrage," that is strengthened by his underlying logic that "... although government can do little positive good to the people, it may do an immense deal of harm." (Whitman) Simply put, if the governemnt has less has to do with meddling in peoples affairs and rights then society will be better off. Also that the role of the government is to act as a protector of smaller groups and individuals from bigger groups so everyone will be happy. The basis of laissez-faire is that the bigger the government factor, being it’s rights and powers, the worse of the country is. William Graham Sumner was another supporter of the laissez-faire idea. Sumner’s writing was a strong example that the government structure should not do anything but create peace. This concept is further backing the idea that government should be remain as small as possible. He writes in Social Classes Owe to Each Other that each social class owes eachother nothing, and that each citizen is entitled to the pursuit of happiness and an equal opportunity in doing so, but not everyone has the right to nor are they entitled to the right. This reflects the laissez-faire argument of what little the government interaction with social classes would

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