Foundations of American Government Essay

Many commentators charged that the Constitution diminished the rights Americans had won in the Revolution.

Fearful that the cause for the Constitution might be lost in his home state, Alexander Hamilton devised a plan to write a series of letters or essays rebutting the critics.

The Foundations Of American Government

Unit 1: Foundations of Government and Constitutional Underpinnings Vocabulary

Origins of American Constitutional Government - …

In constructing this frame of government, practically every feature showed the influence of the unwritten constitution ofthe British Empire; but also there is hardly a clause which cannot be traced to the constitution of one of the thirteenAmerican states or to colonial practice.

The Moral Foundation of American Constitutionalism - …

Buchanan, J. M., and Tullock, G. (1962) The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Maryland, 1819The Constitution of the UnitedStates is thecentral instrument ofAmerican government and the supreme law of the land.

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In taking a constitutional perspective of equality and order, the focus is on the underlying rules necessary for coordinating individual interests so as to resolve conflicts in a socially and economically harmonious way with a minimum of government interference in the private domain. A constitutional perspective, therefore, encompasses both the problem of moral legitimacy and the problem of efficiency—that is, it deals with the ethical problem of determining the legitimacy of the rules underlying markets and government as well as the practical problem of determining how well the chosen rules operate to bring about a spontaneous social and economic order. It is only within a system of limited government safeguarding private property and freedom of contract that those two aspects of the constitutional perspective reinforce each other as justifications for a free society.

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When viewed from the outcome-driven model of equality, the concepts of economic equality and political equality also take on new meanings. Economic equality, instead of meaning open competition and the protection of individual rights to private property and freedom of contract, is now defined in terms of distributive justice. The focal point thus shifts from rules to results and from freedom to coercion as the state attempts to impose some predetermined pattern of income and wealth distribution on the free-market process. The constitutional perspective is thereby distorted as judicial and legislative eyes turn toward what Hayek (1982, vol. 2) has called the “mirage of social justice.” Similarly, political equality, when viewed outside the Framers’ system of limited government, becomes more focused on the democratic process than on effectively constraining the powers of government and safeguarding individual freedom. The danger is that without effective constraints on majoritarian impulses to redistribute income and wealth, democracy will trump liberty—thus, politicizing economic life and slowing economic growth.

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Corwin, E. S. (1955) The “Higher Law” Background of American Constitutional Law. Ithaca, N. Y.: Great Seal Books, Cornell University Press. (Originally published in 1928–29.)

The Constitution of the United States is the central instrument of American government and the ..

Federalist 10: Democratic Republic vs

I have omitted many considerations which might be adduced, to show the impolicy of Great Britain delaying to accommodate matters, and attempting to enforce submission, by cutting off all external sources of trade. To say all the subject allows would spin out this piece to an immoderate length. I shall therefore content myself with mentioning only three things more. First, it would be extremely hurtful to the commerce of Great Britain to drive us to the necessity of laying a regular foundation for manufactories of our own, which, if once established, could not easily, if at all, be undermined or abolished. Secondly, it would be very expensive to the nation to maintain a fleet for the purpose of blocking up our ports and destroying our trade; nor could she interrupt our intercourse with foreign climes without, at the same time, retrenching her own revenues; for she must then lose the duties and customs upon the articles we are wont to export to, and import from, them. Added to this, it would not be prudent to risk the displeasure of those nations, to whom our trade is useful and beneficial. And lastly, a perseverance in ill-treatment would naturally beget such deep-rooted animosities in America as might never be eradicated, and which might operate to the prejudice of the empire to the latest period.

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United States Constitution - Wikipedia

In sum, the movement from a rights-based view of equality toward an outcome-based view has turned the Framers’ Constitution on its head. The safeguarding of persons and property, which Madison held as the primary function of a just government, has given way to the promotion of social justice via the redistributive state. Rent seeking has risen as the judiciary has abandoned substantive due process with respect to economic liberties. The notions of economic and political equality have taken on new meanings that are inconsistent with the “voluntary principle.” The linkage between moral and political legitimacy, therefore, has been severed (see Pilon 1982).