Why It’s Absolutely Vital We Understand America’s Founding Principles

The Federalist | 3/9/2018 | Bre Payton
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In the second lecture of Hillsdale College’s free online Constitution 101 course (which you can take along with me here), professor Thomas G. West analyzes America’s founding principles as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.

For decades, the longstanding agreement between the British government and the colonies was that each entity largely left one another alone. Over time, colonists grew comfortable with this isolation — that is, until the crown began to levy heavy taxes upon the colonist and demand they quarter British soldiers in their homes.

Declaration - Independence - Parts - First - Principles

The Declaration of Independence is split into three main parts. First, it states the principles of government as spelled out in the universal laws of nature, which transcend space and time. Second, the Founders provided a list of specific grievances — each of which prove that Britain violated these universal principles. Lastly, on basis of universal principles, the Declaration draws the necessary conclusion — the colonists, whose rights were trampled upon by the crown, must now govern themselves independently.

What are America’s Founding Principles?

Declaration - States - Men - Men - Founders

The Declaration states that all men are created equal, but what does that mean? And who are considered men? According to the Founders, all of mankind, including women and people of color, are created equal. No one is made legal through legislation or via government programs. It is a condition bestowed upon each one of us by a higher authority at birth. No one is born to be the slave of another.

In the state of nature — that is, where government does not exist — all men are equals. However, as Thomas Hobbes famously wrote in 17th century, life in the state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short. Thus people may submit to the authority of a leader in order to maintain order and preserve safety.

Founders - Purposes

The Founders viewed the primary purposes...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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