In this third installment of our series highlighting the thoughts of conservative and libertarian leaders on American Independence and the Founding, we asked: What do you think was the most important idea of the Founders? (This series will continue until July 4.)
Jamie Radtke, Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation: In my opinion, one of their most significant achievements was the idea of a written constitution. Our U.S. Constitution was designed to serve as a limitation on federal powers, which is what makes it unique and powerful. It provides for a federal separation of power among three branches of government as was advocated by the French philosopher Montesquieu in his work, The Spirit of the Laws. Thus, unlike a parliamentary form of government, power is divided among an independent legislature, a chief executive and an independent judiciary. Additionally, the Bill of Rights guarantees the fundamental rights of the people and the states and further defines the boundaries of power of the federal government. This brilliantly composed document struck a remarkable balance of affirming our natural rights while establishing justice, safety, and a well-ordered society.
The Founders were sensitive to government’s proclivity to usurp the power of the people and therefore were very intentional in how they crafted these constitutions to safeguard our individual liberties. It is now our responsibility to preserve the original intent of the Constitution, restore federalism, and protect the unique treasure that was given to us by our Founding Fathers.
Matthew Mayer: President of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions: Without a doubt, the single greatest idea of the Founders is the system of checks and balances established in the Constitution. From 1787 to 1913, this amazing system allowed
ObamaCare illustrates this reality perfectly as states are left to try to undo what their own senators voted for/rammed through despite the costs ObamaCare will pose on states. Now, states desperately cling to the pre-1937 interpretation of the Commerce Clause—it only took 20 years or so for the federal government to realize the power it gained in 1913—and senators ignore the wishes of their constituents—the states, not the people in the states—knowing that the diffusion of the cost is outweighed by the concentration of the benefit. If we want to get
Matthew J. Brouillette, President of the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives:
Ginni Thomas, President of LibertyCentral.org: While the Founders understood that men were not angels, they also recognized the inherent danger of powerful, centralized government. The simultaneous recognition of both of these principles is remarkable and formed the philosophical foundation for our system of limited Constitutional government. This foundation provided for the greatest degree of individual liberty within a robust independent civil society that could form, naturally, a just and successful society.
Thomas J. Gaitens,