Heavy rule will always lead to destruction one way or another. Individuals can only take being oppressed for so long. An ideal society is one where the government and the people are happy.
We see the results of oppression when we look at Martin Luther King's ideas and dreams for a better society. A world apart from Machiavelli's time, King captures the plight of the oppressed individual. He knows all too well what people experience when they are held down by a government that encroaches on everyday freedom. He urges his readers to "rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice" (King). He also sees hope in the future and asks people to "make justice a reality for all of God's children" (King). Justice is part of the government's responsibility to the people. Elizabeth Cady Canton also understood the struggle for independence. She writes about a "long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object" (Canton) and how this breaks down society. She tells the people it is "their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security" (Canton). King understood the rights of citizens even in the place of an overbearing government. He knew that a mob mentality would only hinder his goal for freedom. In response to this, he wrote, "But there is something that I must say... In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred" (King). He wanted people to pursue freedom but do it with dignity. He said, "We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force" (King). Here we see how it is necessary for people to speak out against oppression and injustice so that others may not endure the same.
These ideas provide examples of what a successful government should look like. It is no doubt a carefully crafted balance of many things. Additionally, these ideas are far from perfect. However, what these ideas demonstrate is how there must be a balance between the powers of the government and the freedom of man. The government must be held accountable just as every man must be held accountable. The government should not take anything away from the individual in terms of freedom and expression. In short, individuals should be allowed the freedom to choose to be who they are. This essentially allows achievers to achieve and society flourishes when individuals succeed. The government does not need to be so big that it must take care of its citizens. It is not the government's role to provide health care for all citizens just as it is not one group's responsibility to take care of another. A government should leave room for failure so that people learn and appreciate what they have. The government should also work together with it citizens as mush as possible to take care of things including the environment, the economy, and education. When the government and the people collaborate on such issues and education, the outcomes is better than when the government takes over. With the current economic crisis, we see that government cannot always be trusted to do the right thing. After all, America is more in debt than her people are. Once a government proves that it cannot be trusted, citizens loose faith.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton. "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolution." Rutgers University Online. Information Retrieved October 1, 2008. http://ecssba.rutgers.edu/docs/seneca.html
Jefferson, Thomas, et al. "The Declaration of Independence." 1776. The Indiana University School of Law Online. Information Retrieved October 1, 2008. http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html
King, Martin Luther. "I have a Dream." American Rhetoric. Information Retrieved October 1, 2008. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1992.
Thoreau, Henry David. "Civil Disobedience." Berkeley Digital Library. Information Retrieved October 1, 2008. http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Literature/Thoreau/CivilDisobedience.html