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  • Section 6 Introduction

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Section 6 Introduction Publius moves in The Federalist's second half to explain the separation of powers and the three branches of government: Congress, including the House (52 to 58) and the Senate (62 to 66), the presidency (67 to 77), and the judiciary (78-83). In response to the Anti-Federalist demand for a more responsive government, Publius teaches us a lesson about the true meaning of "responsibility." Good government is not defined by its responsiveness to popular demands, but is responsible to the true, long-term interests of the people. In other words, it protects their natural rights. In his attempt to heal the American body politic, Publius here offers a strong dose of political moderation. A government that is responsive to every popular whim suffers from the ...
  • Section 7: The Founders on Slavery, the Rise of the Positive Good School, and the Roots of the Secession Crisis

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Section 7: The Founders on Slavery, the Rise of the Positive Good School, and the Roots of the Secession Crisis VII The Founders on Slavery, the Rise of the Positive Good School, and the Roots of the Secession Crisis ...
  • Section 7 Introduction

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Section 7 Introduction For the Founders, equality meant that every human being is born free from the arbitrary or non-consensual political rule of any other human being. All legitimate government is hence necessarily based on the consent of the governed. The continued existence of slavery, the most extreme form of denying consent, was thus the great original flaw in the American constitutional order. It is why Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." In a similar vein, Abraham Lincoln would later describe slavery as the "cancer" in the American body politic. It is obvious from the official documents and private statements collected in this section that the Founders agreed that slavery was a moral evil because it violated the ...
  • Section 8: Crisis of Constitutional Government

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Section 8: Crisis of Constitutional Government VIII Crisis of Constitutional Government ...
  • Section 8 Introduction

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Section 8 Introduction The political contest between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas encompassed far more than a seat in the United States Senate or even the presidency itself. At stake in the 1850s was the very character of American self-government. In 1854, Congress enacted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the brainchild of Douglas, then-chairman of the Senate's Committee on the Territories. The Act organized these vast territories, a necessary prelude to settlement (and railroad development, which was Douglas's original motivation), but did so in a way that placed the slavery issue in a state of permanent agitation that would persist until the Civil War. This land had been made forever free as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, but under Kansas-Nebraska the people ...
  • Section 9: Secession and Civil War

     |  Secession and Civil War

    Section 9: Secession and Civil War IX Secession and Civil War ...
  • Section 9 Introduction

     |  Secession and Civil War

    Section 9 Introduction To secure their Creator-endowed natural rights, Americans constituted a form of government that addressed two distinct but related sets of questions: First, what regime will best secure those rights? That is: Who will rule in the United States? By what institutions will they rule? Finally, what way of life shall they pursue? Second, what kind of polity will best secure those rights? That is: How centralized will this system of government be? How extensive is its territory? How large is its population? The ancient Greek city-states had been centralized but small; the ancient empires and the feudal polities of Christian Europe had been large but decentralized. Modern states combined the size of some empires and many feudal realms with the ...
  • Section 10: The Progressive Rejection of the Founding

     |  Progressive Rejection of the Founding

    Section 10: The Progressive Rejection of the Founding X The Progressive Rejection of the Founding ...
  • Section 10 Introduction

     |  Progressive Rejection of the Founding

    Section 10 Introduction It is impossible to understand the fate of the Founders' principles in American politics without perceiving how those principles have been replaced by those that animate today's administrative state. The administrative state in America emerged out of the dominant political ideas of the Progressive Era. As a practical matter, much of the infrastructure of today's system of property redistribution and centralized regulation was built during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. But the intellectual foundation for the New Deal came a generation earlier, in the Progressive Era—a fact acknowledged by no less an authority than Franklin Roosevelt himself, who in his 1932 Commonwealth Club Address credited the ideas of Theodore Roosevelt and especially ...
  • Section 11: Institutionalizing Progressivism - The New Deal and the Great Society

     |  New Deal and Great Society

    Section 11: Institutionalizing Progressivism - The New Deal and the Great Society XI Institutionalizing Progressivism: The New Deal and the Great Society ...
  • Section 11 Introduction

     |  New Deal and Great Society

    Section 11 Introduction Pick any three letters of the alphabet, economist Milton Friedman said, put them in any order, and in the acronym you will discover an unnecessary federal agency. The alphabet soup of federal regulatory and administrative agencies grew into what it is today largely during the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, two presidents whose names are well-known by their initials. Ronald Reagan, who majored in economics in college during the Great Depression, came much later to see LBJ's Great Society, especially, as inimical to freedom. It was his cause as president, Reagan wrote, to undo the damage it had inflicted upon the country, and to reduce government to a size more in keeping with the principles of the American founding. Franklin ...
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