The Founding Principles 
James D. Best
“The infant periods of most nations are buried in silence, or veiled in fable, 
and perhaps the world has lost little it s...
Historical Novels 
Nonfiction
Tempest at Dawn 
 Twelve year project 
 Novelization of Constitutional Convention 
 Inside Chamber—True to Madison’s no...
Agenda 
1. Why are the Founding Principles important? 
2. Why is the United States unique? 
We did not evolve or arise fro...
5 Years Since End of Revolution 
• Articles of Confederation not working 
• National government couldn’t collect taxes 
• ...
What Are The Founding Principles? 
 Rights come from God, not government 
 All political power emanates from the people ...
• Founding Principles disavowed Divine Right and Mercantilism 
• Declaration, sermons, debates, newspapers, pamphlets 
• C...
Rights Come From God, Not Government 
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to 
dissolve...
• Governments did not protect rights 
• Governments threatened rights 
• Limiting government power protects rights
All Political Power Emanates From The People 
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among 
Men, derivin...
Limited Representative Republic 
James Madison, Delegate to the Federal Convention 
“We may define a republic to be … a go...
Written Constitution 
Since the Mayflower Compact, Americans have wanted the 
rules of government written down. 
A social ...
Private Property Rights 
“The pillars of our prosperity are the most 
thriving when left most free to individual 
enterpri...
United States Constitution 
• Consistent with Founding Principles 
• Ratified by conventions of the people 
• Limited repr...
• Ratification not easy or a given 
• Subject of discussion and argument 
• Taverns 
• Sermons 
• Town meetings 
• Federal...
An entire nation collectively 
approved the Constitution
Original Constitution had no Bill Of Rights 
• Government did not bestow rights 
• Enumerated powers—limited authority 
• ...
9th Amendment 
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or 
disparage others...
Erosion started almost immediately
• Hamilton/Jefferson rivalry 
• Alien and Sedition Acts—John Adams 
• Louisiana Purchase—Jefferson 
• Foreign Entanglement...
Erosion Was Not With Consent of the People 
George Washington 
“If in the opinion of the people the distribution or 
modif...
The Founding Principles 
• Unalienable rights come from God, not government 
• All political power emanates from the peopl...
“A republic, if you can keep it.” 
Benjamin Franklin
Thank You
Founding Principles
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Founding Principles

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The founding of this nation was based on five key principles.

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Founding Principles

  1. 1. The Founding Principles James D. Best
  2. 2. “The infant periods of most nations are buried in silence, or veiled in fable, and perhaps the world has lost little it should regret. But the origins of the American Republic contain lessons of which posterity ought not to be deprived.” James Madison
  3. 3. Historical Novels Nonfiction
  4. 4. Tempest at Dawn  Twelve year project  Novelization of Constitutional Convention  Inside Chamber—True to Madison’s notes  Outside Chamber—events historical or based on circumstantial evidence  Accurate character presentation  Alternating Points of View
  5. 5. Agenda 1. Why are the Founding Principles important? 2. Why is the United States unique? We did not evolve or arise from war Study, thought, debate, and decision 3. How these principles became embedded in Constitution 4. How they’ve been eroded
  6. 6. 5 Years Since End of Revolution • Articles of Confederation not working • National government couldn’t collect taxes • War Debts not being paid • No common or sound money • States negotiating with foreign powers • Commerce, states taxing each other • Shays’ Revolt • Political leaders feared mob rule
  7. 7. What Are The Founding Principles?  Rights come from God, not government  All political power emanates from the people  Limited representative republic  Written Constitution  Private property rights What the Founders would agree on prior to Constitutional Convention.
  8. 8. • Founding Principles disavowed Divine Right and Mercantilism • Declaration, sermons, debates, newspapers, pamphlets • Common education —Enlightenment Aristotle, Montesquieu, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith • Differing opinions on details of government State vs. National government Slavery Strong legislature vs. balanced power Power of executive Western lands Agrarian vs. industrial Enfranchisement
  9. 9. Rights Come From God, Not Government When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
  10. 10. • Governments did not protect rights • Governments threatened rights • Limiting government power protects rights
  11. 11. All Political Power Emanates From The People “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” — Declaration of Independence “What is a Constitution? It is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles of fundamental law are established. The Constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people, and is the supreme law of the land … and can be revoked or altered only by the authority that made it.” —William Paterson, Delegate to the Federal Convention A Revolt Against Divine Right of Kings
  12. 12. Limited Representative Republic James Madison, Delegate to the Federal Convention “We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period.” “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one…’ The Founders believed that liberty depends on each part of the government acting as an effective check on all the other parts
  13. 13. Written Constitution Since the Mayflower Compact, Americans have wanted the rules of government written down. A social contract based on reason, where the people hold political power, must be in writing, so everyone can study, debate, and approve it. “An unwritten constitution is not a constitution at all”—Thomas Paine (?)
  14. 14. Private Property Rights “The pillars of our prosperity are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.” Thomas Jefferson • Influenced by Adam Smith • Free markets build wealth • The Founders believed private property rights and liberty were intertwined. • Property defined broadly • If government allows bullies to take what they want, anarchy reigns. • If government gathers up property unto itself, oppression reigns. • Few restraints on the industrious, the inventive, and the entrepreneurial
  15. 15. United States Constitution • Consistent with Founding Principles • Ratified by conventions of the people • Limited representative republic 1. Enumerated Powers 2. Separation of Power 3. Checks and Balances 4. States Check National Government 5. Leaders Selected by Different Means 6. Varying Terms 7. Restricted taxing authority 8. Separation of church and state
  16. 16. • Ratification not easy or a given • Subject of discussion and argument • Taverns • Sermons • Town meetings • Federalist and Anti-Federalist • Ratification Debates
  17. 17. An entire nation collectively approved the Constitution
  18. 18. Original Constitution had no Bill Of Rights • Government did not bestow rights • Enumerated powers—limited authority • Government not an agency to protect rights • Bill of Rights added by First Congress • Bill of Rights remains consistent with Founding Principles • Not a list of rights—government restrictions Congress shall make no law shall not be infringed shall not be violated nor be deprived shall not be required
  19. 19. 9th Amendment The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 10th Amendment The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
  20. 20. Erosion started almost immediately
  21. 21. • Hamilton/Jefferson rivalry • Alien and Sedition Acts—John Adams • Louisiana Purchase—Jefferson • Foreign Entanglements/War—Madison • Leader of the New World—Monroe • Huge New Federal Programs—John Quincy Adams • Populism and Progressivism—Jackson • Supreme Court Rulings
  22. 22. Erosion Was Not With Consent of the People George Washington “If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation.”
  23. 23. The Founding Principles • Unalienable rights come from God, not government • All political power emanates from the people • Limited representative republic • Written Constitution • Private property rights
  24. 24. “A republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin
  25. 25. Thank You

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