Stuff To Think With


Some people like to rub their ideas against other people's ideas to make their ideas more awesome.

If you're that kind of person, and you'd like to see how some people, past and recent, have addressed the challenges of economic and social injustice that we're looking at, you might like some of these resources...


The Declaration of Independence, 1776. I hear it's important.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man, 1789. From the French Revolution.

The Declaration of Right, 1689. From the second English Revolution, in 1688-89. Some of the English overthrew their king and invited a different king, who was married to the overthrown king's daughter, to come in, because they perceived King #1 (James II) to be a threat to their liberties, on account of the fact that he was Catholic and sympathized with toleration for Catholics and radical Protestants most of the powerful English were mainline Protestants.

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice. Rawls is a big-name political philosopher who addressed a big question: how do we create an equal and fair society when some people have *more* talents and natural gifts and marketable skills than one another? This is a summary of his work. This is a bit about what Rawls has to say about civil disobedience. Michael Sandel discusses Rawls in this video, titled "Is it just to tax the rich to help the poor?"

An Agreement of the People Written by the Levellers, a group of people who rose up in the 1640s in England. Many of them were buddies with the Puritans who came to Massachusetts Bay; some of them were Puritans. Most of the Levellers had fought in an important civil war in England in the 1640s and believed that the right to participate in politics should be extended to all Englishmen; "The poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it's clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under," said Thomas Rainsborough, an important Leveller speaking at a public assembly.

This is a transcript of part of the big Leveller assembly, called the Putney Debates. In 1647, England had ended a big civil war over constitutional principles. The revolution had progressed almost on its own momentum, so far that the king was imprisoned (and about to be executed). But now everyone was asking: "What do we do now?" This is what one group of people considered.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UN document. Good language.





Please add your favorite ideas to rub against, too!

The Massachusetts department of education has some good suggestions here http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/final.pdf Check out Appendix A.