The Putney Debates Of 1647 Essay

1027 words - 4 pages

Arguments proposed by the Grandees in the simulated debate included justifications and further defense of the original Grandees’ arguments. The chief topics to focus on include the importance of immovable property and vested interests, the threat of anarchy from universal incorporation, and the essential definition of tacit consent. All aspects of these arguments set out to make the demands of the Levellers appear unobtainable at the time. When analyzing each topic, the drastic difference of the Levellers and Grandees are discovered, along with certain similarities that make both sides appear not so different in ideology. Most importantly, each argument was essential to democracy then, as they are in today’s modern society.
The Grandees most emphasized argument found form in the importance of owning land, relative to your interest and loyalty to England. Viewing immovable property as a definite way of displaying your patriotism was the only avenue one could take up in order to have a right to vote, and chose those that would ultimately govern them and represent their needs. In relation to democracy, the idea of possessing immovable property prevents those from outside a certain area intruding upon the established rights of the citizens. In order to have a functioning and effective democracy, leaders undoubtedly recognize the threat of foreign influences and possible corruption. Those very same influences may lead to the exploitation of the poorer class, allowing outsiders with sufficient resources to assimilate into British society. Therefore, making the possession of immovable property a requirement for political participation supports the Grandees’ motives in making a society that is not easily influenced by those with property of persons. Although the view of immovable property as a necessity was not shared by the Levellers, they were in accordance with the Grandees in the matter of subjecting foreigners to British law. The universal idea of democracy being shared by both sides of the debate signals why the Grandees were able to take up this strong opinion and enforce it for the betterment of society. Holding one’s vested interest as an indication of their loyalty and patriotism has its similarities to today’s democracies. One can participate in government and satisfy the interest of the whole and the interest they personally hold in high regard.
Anticipating the threat of anarchy influenced the Grandees’ consensus on denying participation to everyone. The issue raised with this aspect evolves from giving excessive power to poorer classes, and it becoming exploited. Granting the right to participate, in the opinion of the Grandees, would lead to those without property pursuing their own interest versus the interest of England. As a result, multiple interests would inevitably conflict and unruly citizens becoming anarchist. However, the issue leads to the conundrum of either including everyone and it resulting in anarchy, or leaving...

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