American Founding

Was Thomas Jefferson a Philosopher?

By |2019-10-22T21:16:55-05:00October 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself “a passive auditor of the opinions of others,” so as to catch the “harmonizing sentiments of the day” and to incorporate them into a document that [...]

The Myth of “Coequal” Branches of the Federal Government

By |2019-10-22T22:17:54-05:00October 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Government, History|

The popular myth, retold almost daily by members of Congress, that the Constitution established three separate, but equal branches, of government has no basis in fact. The true intent of the Framers was for the Congress to be supreme because it is the nature of representative government that the most representative branch should be most [...]

Land Where Our Fathers Died

By |2019-10-21T13:42:23-05:00October 20th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, History|

Wilfred M. McClay’s “Land of Hope” recounts America’s history from a position of scholarly objectivity, neither embellishing America’s achievements nor hiding its shortcomings. His purpose? To tell the American story to Americans who, whether from amnesia or a simple lack of familiarity, do not know nearly enough about their past. Land of Hope: An [...]

Who Was the American in 1775?

By |2019-09-20T21:24:49-05:00September 20th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Senior Contributors|

The Americans of the Revolution wrote about the new man who leaves behind his old prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the mode of life he embraces, and whose labors would change the world. But, one must ask, to what extent was this true? Just exactly how new was the American of 1775? [...]

What Is the Constitution For?

By |2019-09-16T22:02:44-05:00September 16th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bruce Frohnen, Constitution, Founding Document, Rights, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

The U.S. Constitution is important, and great, precisely because it recognizes that people and their rights are social by nature, and must remain rooted in their communities if we are to enjoy the benefits of ordered liberty under the rule of law. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity [...]

The 10th Amendment: A Clear, Firm Boundary Between Congress & the States

By |2019-09-13T00:05:00-05:00September 12th, 2019|Categories: 10th Amendment, American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, History|

To introduce a Bill of Rights for the protection of states’ legislative powers was to protect expressly the rights of the people from intrusion by the general government into their liberty. Unfortunately, initial fears about the reach of federal power and the erosion of state sovereignty have come true. A recurrent theme during the [...]

The Yachtsman and the Revolution

By |2019-09-13T09:56:44-05:00September 12th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, History, Republicanism, Revolution|

James Henry Stark was a historian and defender of the Loyalists in an age of high reverence for the American Revolution. Stark’s unhappiness at the public presentation and textbook renderings of the Revolution seethed for years, until finally in 1910 he published “Loyalists of Massachusetts” to settle the debate. In March 1910, the wealthy [...]

1619, Slavery, the Founding, and All That

By |2019-09-08T16:43:37-05:00September 8th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Senior Contributors, Slavery|

For nearly fifty years, we have taught American children that the three greatest determinants in history are race, class, and gender. Virtue is scoffed at; “Great Men” are mocked; and free will is ignored. Should we be shocked—do we even have the right to be shocked—that our press, our culture, and our educators are obsessed [...]

How Can the Constitution Survive?

By |2019-08-26T00:42:13-05:00August 25th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Aristotle, Constitution, History, Timeless Essays|

It is essential that each new generation understand the meaning of the United States Constitution. Without an adequate understanding of the Constitution’s moral and cultural prerequisites, Democrats and Republicans will lack the moral and imaginative qualities necessary to cooperate; hence free government, which is dependent on inner ethical control, will be imperiled. Today’s offering [...]

George Will’s “The Conservative Sensibility”

By |2019-08-21T22:27:52-05:00August 21st, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Books, Conservatism, Government, Politics|

In “The Conservative Sensibility,” George Will posits that taming the administrative state and restoring the principles of the American Founding is the great American political project of the 21st century. But is the country up to the task? The Conservative Sensibility, by George F. Will (640 pages, Hachette Books, 2019) If prudence is a [...]

Publius on the Relation of the Federal Government to the States

By |2019-08-08T23:10:24-05:00August 8th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Federalist Papers, Government, History, James Madison, Politics|

James Madison wrote in “The Federalist” that the Constitution puts the states to the test: The stronger federal government will inaugurate a kind of competition in good government, breaking the states’ monopolies… Having founded republican regimes in America, regimes animated by respect for the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God as enunciated in [...]

New York’s Admission to the Union

By |2019-07-25T22:07:51-05:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Alexander Hamilton, American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, History, John Jay|

New York showed its wealth of wisdom in ratifying the Constitution and becoming the 11th state in a fledgling nation. While the Empire State’s ratification was not required under the new Constitution for there to be a United States, had the vote gone the other way, the United States may have been for naught [...]

“Vital Remnants” at 20

By |2019-07-10T16:53:38-05:00July 8th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Gary Gregg proposed in “Vital Remnants” that we see the Founding as the Founders saw it, not as we wish them to have seen it. In this, Dr. Gregg went directly against the reigning historiography of the 1990s and its fetishist obsession with social justice, class, and gender. Twenty years ago the Intercollegiate Studies Institute [...]