© Bob Golden
The Founders thought the government had a role in promoting good character among the citizen body, because the liberty which it is government’s job to protect is inseparable from virtue. Moral education or character formation, which begins with the family, is necessary for the preservation of a free society.
The Constitution is a product of the ideas and the experience of the Founders. The Founders’ experience of government under the Articles of Confederation—which led to legislative tyranny of the majority and the general incompetence of government—taught the Founders that consent must be structured, that good government requires something more than a legislative branch.
Sometimes referred to as the fourth branch of government, the bureaucracies which constitute the administrative state exercise legislative, executive, and judicial powers—a practice which Publius describes in Federalist 47 as “the very definition of tyranny. Originally a barrier to the implementation of the Progressive agenda, the judiciary today largely defers to the bureaucracy. These developments have produced a system which continues to erode America’s constitutional foundations.
Building on their rejection of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, Progressives worked to remove constitutional restrictions on government’s power in order to institute their programs and policies. The 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution fundamentally transformed the federal government, but most Progressive policy successes occurred at the state and local levels.
In the early 20th century, a new political theory—known as Progressivism—rose to prominence in America. This theory held that the principles of the American Founding, expressed most eloquently and concisely in the Declaration of Independence, were irrelevant to modern life.
If you’re serious about doing your part to turn our country around, you’ll need to learn how to ‘talk-the-talk’ and ‘walk-the-walk’ with real educated and factual information.
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Step #1 -- Learn It Or Lose It
American political history is defined by three great crises. The first crisis was the American Revolution, the second crisis was the crisis over slavery that culminated in the Civil War, and the third great crisis, which continues today, is the challenge of Progressivism, a movement founded by Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and others.
The principles of the Declaration of Independence constitute the soul of the American Founding and form the moral basis of government in the United States. The Declaration is a clear and concise statement of the principles that drove the American Revolution, and served as the basis for the Americans’ appeal from British rights or law to the natural law.
The national government under the Articles of Confederation was weak, and most political power remained in the hands of the states, where the state legislatures dominated. These virtually unchecked state legislatures passed laws that were characterized by their multiplicity, mutability, and essential injustice.
Beginning in the 1830s, leading voices in the South, the foremost being John C. Calhoun, embraced slavery as what they called a “positive good,” and rejected any limits on slavery. These Southerners knew the Founders opposed slavery in principle—and also knew they had taken significant actions, for example with the Northwest Ordinance, to contain the institution and to roll it back wherever possible—but they thought that the Founders were wrong to do so.