What is American Exceptionalism? – American Exceptionalism is the idea that the United States of America is unique among the nations of the world in that it was founded on the principles of individual liberty, private property rights, and equal justice for all. Because it is unique, the United States has a special role in the world and in human history. Continue reading.
Alexis de Tocqueville – American Exceptionalism was first used by Alexis de Tocqueville “during his first visit to America in 1831.” He noticed that the American idea of “nationality” was “different, based less on common history or ethnicity than on common beliefs.” Continue reading
American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny – exceptionalism is close to the idea of Manifest Destiny, a term used by Jacksonian Democrats in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession). Manifest Destiny saw itself as extending liberty from sea to shining sea across the American continent, from the original 13 colonies in the East to the Pacific coast in the West. Continue reading.
American Exceptionalism – What Makes America Different? – The principles of American Exceptionalism comprise the “America creed,” which, G. K. Chesterton wrote, “is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.” There, the theological pegs of our Union are established in four explicit references to the Judeo-Christian God. Continue reading
Human Exceptionalism – America is exceptional as a nation because it set in motion the belief that political power should be checked and balanced rather than abused by overlords at whim, which was the common (and therefore unexceptional) way of doing things when our nation was founded (and remains so in many parts of the world). The whole point of limiting that power was to preserve individuals’ natural rights. This is a crucial point that means American exceptionalism is really all about human exceptionalism. It’s “American” because it happened to happen in America first. Continue reading
Many definitions – Compared to dictatorships, oligarchies, monarchies, and aristocracies, in which the people have little or no say in who is elected and how the government is run, a democracy is often said to be the most challenging form of government, as input from those representing citizens determines the direction of the country. The basic definition of democracy in its purest form comes from the Greek language: The term means “rule by the people.” But democracy is defined in many ways — a fact that has caused much disagreement among those leading various democracies as to how best to run one. Continue reading
What is a democracy? – The American Founders actually feared democratic rule. JAMES MADISON expressed this attitude in FEDERALIST #10: “…instability, injustice, and confusion …have in truth been the mortal disease under which popular governments everywhere perished…” In the late 18th-century, rule by the people was thought to lead to disorder and disruption. Yet a democratically-based government was seen as superior to the monarchies of Europe. Continue reading
10 reasons why democracy doesn’t work – It is an accepted fact that liberal democracy is the worst possible political system—except for all others (thank you, Sir Winston). This list doesn’t aim to advocate tyranny but to review the flaws and failures of the democratic process.
We are not perfect—and neither are our governments since they are made by humans too. It is most advisable to be skeptical, even of democracy itself. After all, even Thomas Jefferson was wary of the “tyranny of the masses”. Continue reading
Americans are not sure: As free people, we need to formulate our own opinions, thus, it is crucial for us to have a clear and precise understanding regarding the differences between a democracy and a republic as stated in the Constitution of the United States of America. The vast majority of Americans have no idea that the United States is a Republic. How many people do you hear saying, “We are a democracy. We are a democratic nation” Continue reading
Representative Democracy – The term “republic” as used today refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term. Even in a republic, it’s the voice of the majority that rules through chosen representatives; however, there is a charter or constitution of basic rights that protect the minority from being completely unrepresented or overridden. Continue reading
Go behind the scenes in Jean Fritz’s book on the Constitutional Convention. Read how the fifty-five delegates from thirteen states huddled together in the strictest secrecy in Philadelphia to draw up the constitution of the United States!
Republic vs. Democracy: What Is the Difference? – In a republic, an official set of fundamental laws, like the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, prohibits the government from limiting or taking away certain “inalienable” rights of the people, even if that government was freely chosen by a majority of the people. In a pure democracy, the voting majority has almost limitless power over the minority. Continue reading
Republic vs. Democracy – In a Democracy, the sovereignty is in the whole body of the free citizens. The sovereignty is not divided into smaller units such as individual citizens. To solve a problem, only the whole body politic is authorized to act. Also, being citizens, individuals have duties and obligations to the government. The government’s only obligations to the citizens are those legislatively pre-defined for it by the whole body politic.
In a Republic, the sovereignty resides in the people themselves, whether one or many. In a Republic, one may act on his own or through his representatives as he chooses to solve a problem. Further, the people have no obligation to the government; instead, the government being hired by the people, is obliged to its owner, the people. Continue reading
Why Did the Founding Fathers Choose a Republic? – America isn’t just “a Republic,” it is the Constitutional Federal Republic with a Democratic spirit. Democratic ideals led to the rejection of a Constitutional Monarchy or a more restrictive Republic. Continue Reading
The Founding Fathers Rejected Democracy – Benjamin Franklin defined democracy as “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Continue reading
Why the United States was designed as a Republic – The elements of a republic are these: 1) a representative government, 2) a written constitution and 3) the rule of law. The rule of law requires that no one is above the law, that the law has been defined before a controversy exists, and that the rights of minorities are protected. Continue reading
Common Sense: From Monarchy to the American Republic – American revolutionaries looked to the past for inspiration for their break with the British monarchy and their adoption of a republican form of government. The Roman Republic provided guidance. Much like the Americans in their struggle against Britain, Romans had thrown off monarchy and created a republic in which Roman citizens would appoint or select the leaders who would represent them.
While republicanism offered an alternative to monarchy, it was also an alternative to democracy, a system of government characterized by majority rule, where the majority of citizens have the power to make decisions binding upon the whole. To many revolutionaries, especially wealthy landowners, merchants, and planters, democracy did not offer a good replacement for monarchy. Continue reading
One of the best available guides to the study of the Founding: provided summaries and analyses of the leading interpretive frameworks that have guided the study of the Founding since the publication of Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution in 1913. For this new edition, Gibson has revised and updated his study, including his comprehensive bibliography, and also added a new concluding chapter on the “Unionist Paradigm” or “Federalist Interpretation” of the Constitution.
For the last twenty years, this book has been cited by every serious writer on early American constitutional development. Any constitutional history of the independent United States must begin with this comprehensive study.
Chaos, confusion, disappointment, and hopelessness have pushed and pulled Americans into a state of dependency. From the individual to the family, to our local communities, Americans are constantly looking for others to solve the problems and challenges they face. To move to a culture of success requires a return to our Constitutional Republic where all Americans are free to determine their own fate.
An overview of the history and documents relating to the founding documents of the United States. Set up as a primer for those who are beginning their journey into the search for social and historical relationships of our Constitution to today’s society.
The American Cause explains in simple yet eloquent language the bedrock principles upon which America’s experiment in constitutional self-government is built.
Many do not know the history of our country and why we are a Republic. This will provide a simple understanding.
Everything You Need to Ace American History . . . covers Native Americans to the war in Iraq. There are units on Colonial America; the Revolutionary War and the founding of a new nation; Jefferson and the expansion west; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and all of the notable events of the 20th century—World Wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and much more.
Who are the most influential thinkers, and which are the most important concepts, events, and documents in the study of the American political tradition? How ought we regard the beliefs and motivations of the founders, the debate over the ratification of the Constitution, the historical circumstances of the Declaration of Independence, the rise of the modern presidency, and the advent of judicial supremacy?
THE BRIEF AMERICAN PAGEANT presents a concise and vivid chronological narrative, focusing on the great public debates that have dominated American history. Colorful anecdotes, first-person quotations, and the text’s trademark wit are all evident throughout. Focus questions, chapter outlines and summaries, marginal glossaries, and links to additional online study aids ensure that students understand and retain the material as they read and prepare for exams.
Eight captivating manuscripts in one book on the Founding Fathers.
As Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, he was reportedly asked what kind of government the founders would propose. He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” In this book, Justice Neil Gorsuch shares personal reflections, speeches, and essays that focus on the remarkable gift the framers left us in the Constitution.
Justice Gorsuch draws on his thirty-year career as a lawyer, teacher, judge, and justice to explore essential aspects of our Constitution, its separation of powers, and the liberties it is designed to protect. He discusses the role of the judge in our constitutional order, and why he believes that originalism and textualism are the surest guides to interpreting our nation’s founding documents and protecting our freedoms. He explains, too, the importance of affordable access to the courts in realizing the promise of equal justice under law—while highlighting some of the challenges we face on this front today.
- The Constitution | Students, Parents & Teachers Resources
- Interactive Constitution
- Bill of Rights Institute
- Legacy – Bill of Rights Institute
- American Founding Toolkit – Teaching American History
- A Declaration to Restore the Constitutional Republic
- Amazon US Constitution Resources