The Purpose of Law in a Free Society

The Purpose of Law in a Free Society

On August 24, 410 A.D., an army of the Germanic Visigoth tribe invaded and sacked Rome. The attack shocked people of the Mediterranean world and many began to believe that the ancient gods of Rome were punishing Romans for abandoning them in favor of the Jewish God, Jesus of Nazareth. In response to this furor,…

Understanding the Complexity and Uniqueness of the History of the United States

Understanding the Complexity and Uniqueness of the History of the United States

The Canadian philosopher George Parkin Grant has observed that Canada and the United States are two countries of European origin with no history before the modern period. In the United States, this fact has led to an ongoing debate about when we began as a country. In considering this phenomenon, we should be clear that…

Union and Liberty in Early America, Part I

Union and Liberty in Early America, Part I

James Danielson, PhD Anne-Louise Germaine de Stael-Holstein (1766-1817), known as Madame de Stael (commonly pronounced “de Stall”), was a French writer and political theorist whose writings were widely read in her lifetime and long after. She was alarmed at Napoleon’s belligerent adventures in Europe and wrote to him aggressively about it, which prompted Bonaparte to demand of his servants that they…

Union and Liberty in Early America, Part II

Union and Liberty in Early America, Part II

In the last issue of “Front and Center,” we examined the nature of the American state and began to consider how early Americans worked out a way for the states to effect their security within a union that protected their liberty. In this issue, we will describe the American political order that prevailed among us…

Free People as Citizens

Free People as Citizens

The Philadelphia Convention concluded its business on 17, September 1787. Ten days later, on 27, September, there appeared the first of seven letters written to the citizens of New York under the pseudonym “Cato.” The letters are intended to help New Yorkers think about the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed new constitution.[i] It isn’t known…

The Path to American Independence

The Path to American Independence

In June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia delivered to the Continental Congress a resolution, known as the Lee Resolution, declaring the colonies of British America to be free and independent states. It reads as follows: Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they…

The Principle of Federalism

The Principle of Federalism

James Wilson was a Scottish-born Pennsylvanian who was one of the leading jurists in the early years after the ratification of the Constitution. He served on the Committee of Detail that produced the first draft of the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. He is regarded as the principal designer of the executive branch…

What Form of Government did the Constitution Create?

What Form of Government did the Constitution Create?

Today most Americans are in the habit of referring to our form of government as a democracy, but in Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution we read the following: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government,…” Were we to ask Americans to explain what they…