Timothy Sandefur’s The Conscience of the Constitution contributes to the debate over the best way to limit the powers of the United States government in order to secure liberty. Sandefur, a lawyer and legal scholar, believes that “American constitutional history has always hovered in the mutual resistance of two principles: the right of each individual to be free, and the power of the majority to make rules.” (1) For Sandefur adherence to the natural rights theory of Declaration of Independence manages the tension between the two principles.
A student practices the SAT at a Kaplan Test Prep center in New York City, NY (Kaplan Test Prep / Shutterstock.com0.)
Richard Samuelson’s timely Claremont Review of Books essay, “The Genius of American Citizenship,” presents the Founders’ argument for the citizenship of American exceptionalism, as opposed to the cultural and economic arguments that have dominated today’s debate over immigration. As Jefferson feared then, citizen identity without a sense of political duty will produce a “heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass”—the conditions for centralized bureaucracy we are seeing ever more realized today.
It is an arresting image on Mount Rushmore: Theodore Roosevelt the Rough Rider, man of action, and lover of his country, taking his place alongside three of the greatest men to occupy the presidency – men whom he professed to admire and sought to emulate: Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. And the centennial of Roosevelt’s rise to national prominence led to a spate of biographies and other studies evaluating his presidency and its impact on the nation. Roosevelt’s image is, for many, nearly irresistible. To many Americans, at least, his patriotic nationalism, his efforts to establish a system of national parks,…