Defending the Judeo-Christian Heritage, limited government, and the American Constitution
Wednesday February 10th 2016

Posts Tagged ‘American Founding Philosophy’

Joseph Story, the Natural Law, and Modern Jurisprudence

Joseph Story, the Natural Law, and Modern Jurisprudence

DIARMUID F. O'SCANNLAIN, HERITAGE FOUNDATION Abstract Joseph Story As a natural law thinker, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story believed that human nature is inherent and unchangeable. Story wrote that God fixed the laws of mankind’s being, and thus it is “altogether unchangeable in its first principles.” But whereas Story’s [...]

The Direct Definition of a Slave – Samuel Adams

The Direct Definition of a Slave – Samuel Adams

FOUNDERS CORNER: SPEECHES, PAMPHLETS, LETTERS, QUOTES Sam Adams, July 16, 1788 For your use I subjoin the following creed of every good American :—I believe that in every kingdom, state, or empire there must be, from the necessity of the thing, one supreme legislative power, with authority to bind every part in all cases the proper object of [...]

Thomas Paine on Just War

Thomas Paine on Just War

Thomas Paine LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL In his 1776 bestseller “Common Sense," Thomas Paine cautions his fellow Americans that “a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Is the six decade old American policy of [...]

Samuel Adams: “Matters of this kind…are Serious Things”

Samuel Adams: “Matters of this kind…are Serious Things”

They Were Believers, Samuel Adams, 1778 In this letter to the Earl of Carlisle and Others, Samuel Adams responds as to the justness of their cause, and their hope and prayer that God and Christ will vindicate it: You have told Congress, "if, after the time that may be necessary to consider this communication and transmit your answer, the [...]

James Wilson—Of The Natural Rights Of Individuals

James Wilson—Of The Natural Rights Of Individuals

Foundations of the United States Constitution James Wilson—signator of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, drafter of the U.S. Constitution, and an original Justice on the Supreme Court—delivers a series of lectures on the law late in his life.   The opinion has been very general, that, in order [...]

Cooper—On the Moral Responsibility of the Press

Cooper—On the Moral Responsibility of the Press

American Thought James Fenimore Cooper returns from Europe to publish an open letter to his fellow Americans. THERE is one thing in Cooper I like, too, and that is That on manners he lectures his countrymen gratis; Not precisely so either, because, for a rarity, He is paid for his tickets in unpopularity. Now he may overcharge [...]

Abraham Lincoln or the Progressives: Who was the real father of big government?

Abraham Lincoln or the Progressives: Who was the real father of big government?

ALLEN C. GUELZO, FIRST PRINCIPLES Abstract: Early Progressives co-opted Abraham Lincoln’s legacy to justify their program of expansive government powers over American life. In so doing, they obscured how their philosophy of government broke with Lincoln and the Founding to which he was heir. Nevertheless, much conservative and libertarian [...]

Madison: Vices of the Political System of the United States

Madison: Vices of the Political System of the United States

American Founder, James Madison Liberty Letters, James Madison VICES OF THE POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES, 16 APRIL 1787 James Madison to George Washington (also, a copy taken by permission by Daniel Carroll and sent to Charles Carroll of Carrollton) 1. Failure of the States to comply with the Constitutional [...]

Sam Adams: How to Deserve and Enjoy Liberty

Sam Adams: How to Deserve and Enjoy Liberty

Liberty Letters, Samuel Adams The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we [...]

Jefferson & Washington on the Morality of the National Debt

Jefferson & Washington on the Morality of the National Debt

Liberty Letters with Steve Farrell American Founder Thomas Jefferson, discussing the so-called morality of a national debt — what some dare to describe in our day as something that "we owe to ourselves"! as if debt were a privilege to be sought after — had this to say in response to what debts might be incurred to finance the War of 1812 [...]

Madison: Checking rulers, passion, human error, and leveling

Madison: Checking rulers, passion, human error, and leveling

American Founder, James Madison (1751-1836) Liberty Letters, James Madison, 26 June 1787 In order to judge of the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it. These were first to protect the people against their rulers: secondly to protect 〈the people〉 against the transient [...]

Senate and the House: The Founders Balancing Act

Senate and the House: The Founders Balancing Act

Richard Henry Lee may have been the author of The Federal Farmer series of articles. Liberty Letters, Federal Farmer 11, 1788 The senate, as a legislative branch, is not large, but as an executive branch quite too numerous. It is not to be presumed that we can form a genuine senatorial branch in the United States, a real representation of [...]

Ben Franklin: Duty & Calling of Training Youth in Wisdom & Virtue

Ben Franklin: Duty & Calling of Training Youth in Wisdom & Virtue

Liberty Letters, Benjamin Franklin, 1750 I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are, in my opinion, the strength of a state; much more so than riches or arms, which, under the management of ignorance and wickedness, often draw on [...]

Thomas Jefferson on “the Precepts of Jesus”

Thomas Jefferson on “the Precepts of Jesus”

Liberty Letters, Thomas Jefferson, 1820 I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by Himself, to be the most pure, benevolent and sublime which have ever been preached to man. I adhere to the principles of the first age, and consider all subsequent innovations as corruptions of His religion, having no foundation in what came from [...]

Madison: Greatest Trust Ever Confided to a Political Society

Madison: Greatest Trust Ever Confided to a Political Society

Liberty Letters, James Madison, 1783 Let it be remembered, finally, that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that the rights for which she contended were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the Author of these rights on the means exerted for their defense, they have prevailed against all opposition, and form the basis [...]

John Adams—On Economic Policy

John Adams—On Economic Policy

American Thought John Adams refers an old friend and political opponent to his views on economic and monetary policies. I beg leave to refer you to a work which Mr. Jefferson has sent me, translated by himself from a French manuscript of the Count Destutt de Tracy. His chapter “of money” contains the sentiments that I have entertained [...]

Bancroft: A Plea for the Constitution of the United States

Bancroft: A Plea for the Constitution of the United States

George Bancroft in 1846 (photo credit: public domain) Wounded in the House of Its Guardians by George Bancroft,  1884 INTRODUCTION Good money must have an intrinsic value. The United States of America cannot make its shadow legal tender for debts payable in money without ultimately bringing upon their foreign commerce and their home [...]

James Madison: Is There No Virtue Among Us?

James Madison: Is There No Virtue Among Us?

Liberty Letters, James Madison Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and [...]

Momentary Passions and Fatal Precedents

Momentary Passions and Fatal Precedents

Liberty Letters, Alexander Hamilton Nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions, by letting into the government, principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves. Source: Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation, p. 462. Liberty Letters is [...]

Thomas Jefferson: Departing from principle in one instance

Thomas Jefferson: Departing from principle in one instance

Liberty Letters, Thomas Jefferson A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sin and suffering. Source: Thomas Jefferson, Works 7:14. Liberty Letters is a [...]

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