Commentary: Taking Federalism Seriously

The Framers left us a Constitution that gives powers and authority both to the national government and to the states. But the Constitution does not systematically expound on the nature and extent of those powers, nor does it offer a clear-cut rationale for what the states are supposed to do beyond checking national power – a theoretical deficiency rooted in political reality.

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Commentary: Civic Virtues as Moral Facts Trying to Recover the Other Half of Our Founding

Until a half century ago or so, there was a moral consensus, however fraying, that informed and shaped the exercise of freedom in the Western world. The self-determination of human beings, of citizens in self-governing political orders, presupposed a civilized inheritance that allowed free men and women to distinguish, without angst or arduous effort, between liberty and license, good and evil, honorable lives and dissolute and disgraceful ones. Few would have suggested that liberty and human dignity could long flourish without a sense of moral obligation and civic spirit on the part of proud, rights-bearing individuals.

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Commentary: The Federalist Papers and ‘The Violence of Faction’

Founding Fathers

It has been said that the oldest word in American politics is “new.” Even the United States Constitution, by far the oldest written constitution in the world, was once new, and had to be defended against charges that it was an unnecessary and unrepublican innovation. The Federalist was keenly aware of the novelty of the Constitution’s enterprise—the attempt to establish “good government from reflection and choice”—but boldly turned it to account. 

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