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This is a great National Review article by Jay Cost. We tend to forget it took a real revolution to create America. Our form of government is really radical.

It is important to remember that as some days it is easy to give up hope. Our founders gave their lives to create this for us. It is a precious jewel to be treasured.

The first is the notion that civil liberty must be nearly absolute. The First Amendment guarantees the right to speak, to assemble, and to worship — with no caveats whatsoever. The Second Amendment empowers the people to arm themselves, as an alternative to standing armies, which had historically been tools of oppression. The remaining amendments in the Bill of Rights keep the government from abusing the rights of privacy, ensure fair and humane treatment in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, and underscore the limitations of federal authority.

The second idea is a radically republican conception of the state. “Republicanism” had long been around as a governing ideal — the notion being that government should serve the citizenry and, in some respect, reflect its views. Political philosophers had usually reckoned that the best way to accomplish this task was to blend different forms — like democracy and aristocracy — to keep the defects of any one system from undermining the whole regime. In the 1700s, European theorists such as Montesquieu and David Hume had judged the British Constitution to be the greatest realization of this idea, for it “balanced” the Commons against the House of Lords and the Crown.

“The delegates to the Constitutional Convention would have none of this. Their system of government was founded solely upon the people — with no self-appointed or hereditary authority. And we see their radicalism in the fact that they affirmed this commitment in 1787, when popular government in the United States seemed to have been foundering for many years. The national government was impotent during the 1780s, and the state governments were often no different than mob rule. But instead of seeking reconciliation with George III, or some reinstatement of mixed estates, the delegates to the Convention, as Madison put it, chartered a government that addressed the “inconveniencies of democracy” while remaining “consistent with the democratic form of government.”

Source: America’s Founders Radical Then & Now | National Review

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