Congress & Citizenship

Individual Rights & Active Involvement

What do Governments do?

Most political philosophers think that governments exist to protect our individual rights, especially our natural rights. Governments make policy decisions to further the common good of the citizens living in the country.

The contract theory of government in the United States is based on the idea that individuals willingly trade some of their natural freedom, including the absolute exercise of individual rights, in exchange for the protections provided by government. The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the rest of the amendments pertain to or protect individual rights.

What are Natural Rights?

Natural rights are those rights that come from nature and we have them by virtue of being born. In other words, rights are not “granted” or given by government. We have those rights from birth, because we are human beings. These rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are listed in the Declaration of Independence.

The idea of natural rights has been preserved and protected by the system of government created by our Constitution. By having a limited government, accountable to the people through elections, and allotting only specific powers to each of the branches, the Constitution guarantees that our government will not become oppressive. Adding further safety, are the guarantees of our individual freedoms outlined in the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights.

Contact Me!

As your Representative, I appreciate the opportunity to hear your opinions. The privilege of representing you in Washington is one that I take very seriously. It is my hope that you will contact me regarding any issue of importance to you and your family. I wish you the best in your school career.

Glossry of Terms

  • Bill of Rights: First ten amendments to the Constitution describing individual rights

  • Consent of the governed: A condition urged by many as a condition for legitimate government

  • Contract theory/social contract: Individuals agree to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights

  • Democracy: government by the people; especially rule of the majority

  • Individual rights: Political, economic, and civil rights, including freedom of speech, religion, and press, as well as freedom from unreasonable searches

  • Natural rights: powers and privileges that come from nature or from God, and are not “granted” by government

  • Republic: form of government in which power resides in the people, and the government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law

  • Representative government: a system in which people elect their lawmakers, who are then held accountable to them for their activity within government