What Is Patriotic Education?

By |2020-10-12T09:07:17-05:00October 11th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Education, History, Liberal Learning, Patriotism|

Patriotic education is less about the specific curricular concepts that are featured in American history classes, and more about a philosophical stance that informs our approach, one full of explicit values and assumptions. It involves an audacious faith in America and tells the whole story of our past, which includes the bad with the [...]

John Calvin and the American Republic

By |2020-10-01T15:44:28-05:00October 2nd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Christianity, Government, History, Protestant Reformation|

John Calvin’s theology, as well as his influence on the civil government of Geneva, significantly influenced the founding of the United States. The Founding Fathers understood well the wisdom of Calvin’s teaching that original sin sometimes necessitated resisting tyrants and limiting the power of civil government, and were thus prepared when the time came [...]

America Must Return to the Noble Traditions of Her Founders

By |2020-09-23T12:45:12-05:00September 27th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, History, Politics, Slavery|

That it is the founding principles themselves to which we can turn to recover from the great evils of slavery, of the loss of virtue and moral standard, and of grotesque dehumanization should be a measure of the gratitude we owe to our Founding Fathers for their magnificent achievement. Robert R. Reilly is the [...]

Madison’s “Extended Republic” and the Culture Wars

By |2020-09-16T13:58:33-05:00September 16th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Culture War, Government, James Madison, Politics|

Centering our national politics on the culture wars is unhelpful because in the end it simply is not cut out for this. The optimal jurisdictional sphere for resolving many of our cultural battles will be localities, not states. Localities must be empowered boldly to operate and experiment within the immense gray areas that the [...]

The Indispensable Legacy of Gouverneur Morris

By |2020-09-15T11:01:27-05:00September 16th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Constitution Day, Founding Document, History|

The role Gouverneur Morris played in the Miracle at Philadelphia is one that is often cropped out of the greater American Story. However, based on James Madison’s detailed account of the proceedings of the Convention, Morris has had a much greater impact on American political institutions than what Americans give him credit for. The [...]

Jefferson Against Conformity, 1945-1960

By |2020-08-10T16:02:14-05:00August 7th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Politics, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson, many scholars have thought, represented the ideal of human individualism and personality, a renaissance man who struggled mightily against mediocrity. In the spirit of Jefferson, an individual can reach his own unique potential by properly pursuing a liberal education. Though perhaps odd to our ears in 2020, the time period dealt with [...]

The Foundering of the American Republic

By |2020-08-06T08:07:27-05:00August 6th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Christianity, Declaration of Independence, Modernity, Politics|

So, if Robert R. Reilly is correct in his analysis and assessment of the American Founding in his book “America on Trial,” where did the American experiment in ordered liberty go wrong? I would suggest that the problem is neither progressivism nor its philosophical antecedent historicism, baleful as they both might be. Rather, it [...]

Harry S. Truman and the Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

By |2020-08-03T15:33:10-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Declaration of Independence, Foreign Affairs, History, Politics, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Harry S. Truman explicitly tried to tie Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence to the events and crusades of his own day. He saw the Declaration of Independence as an international document, belonging to all peoples yearning for freedom. When the first copy of the first volume of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, [...]

Just How Catholic Is the Declaration of Independence?

By |2020-07-31T22:24:04-05:00August 1st, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christianity, Declaration of Independence, History, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

An oft-reprinted editorial, “Did Bellarmine Whisper to Thomas Jefferson?,” suggests that the American statesman might have been influenced by Robert Bellarmine. While recent scholarship has confirmed that Jefferson came to Bellarmine through the works of the radical Protestant intermediary, Algernon Sydney, is the Declaration of Independence really influenced by Catholic teaching? In the wake [...]

1619: The Beginning of Self-Government in Virginia

By |2020-07-29T16:46:19-05:00July 29th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Civilization, Government, History, Politics|

On July 30, 1619, the newly appointed Governor, Sir George Yeardley, set in motion the concept of self-government in the Virginia colony. He called forth the first representative legislative assembly in America, establishing Virginia’s House of Burgesses—today, the Virginia Assembly. The yearning for self-government springs eternal. In the first Federalist essay, Alexander Hamilton famously [...]

Is Natural Law Sufficient to Defend the Founding?

By |2020-07-26T00:55:31-05:00July 26th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Aristotle, Books, Natural Law, Philosophy, Reason|

As Robert R. Reilly explains in “America on Trial,” the United States restored the founding of government based on reason in a Constitution that produced the most successful government experiment in history. If the American Founding was a rational and social success, why has the American experiment now come under modern attack? America on [...]

How Successful Were the Articles of Confederation?

By |2020-07-08T17:09:38-05:00July 8th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Freedom, History|

The Articles of Confederation were doomed by their perceived structural weakness. Yet defenders of the Articles at the time correctly pointed out that this early constitution, drafted under intense pressure at a critical time in the country’s history and intended to deal foremost with the exigencies of war, had been remarkably successful. The Declaration [...]

A Declaration of Interdependence: Rereading the American Declaration of 1776

By |2020-07-08T10:46:09-05:00July 8th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Christianity, Declaration of Independence, Equality, Freedom, Government, History, John Locke, Rights|

While the Declaration of Independence may be linked in the popular imagination with notions of unfettered freedom and autonomy, in reality, the Declaration is greatly concerned with relationships, interrelationships, mutuality, and obligations. These relationships are governed by preexisting, inalienable natural rights and justice. In the beginning, the title was not the Declaration of Independence. [...]

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