American Mind–Civics Class–Part One

In these trying times I thought that a good hard look at what can be termed as the American Mind or the American Identity or the American Experience……..you choose what you think this series is about.

This series originally posted in Real Clear Public Affairs…..a good chance to renew the Civics lessons for most people especially now with an important election looming.

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

We start with the Constitution of the United States of America….”How Democratic Is The Constitution?

It’s hard not to notice that in the United States, political arguments frequently turn on questions that, in other democracies, nobody talks about. What are the powers of the legislature? What may the executive do? What can the states do without begging permission from the national government? Why can’t an idea popular with the public become a law?

For these and other questions, the answer will always involve the American Constitution, a document more than two centuries old that has been amended (not counting the Bill of Rights) only 17 times. In the wake of the 2016 election—in which, not for the first time, a candidate who lost the popular election entered the White House anyway—talk about the Constitution’s “defects” has become more insistent. Why can’t America be more like other countries? Do you worry about fracking? Boris Johnson was worried, so he banned it, because he is the Prime Minister of Great Britain and his party controls the House of Commons. He can do pretty much whatever he wants when he has a sufficient majority.

https://www.realclearpublicaffairs.com/articles/2020/02/14/why_is_the_constitution_not_democratic_484132.html Some say the Constitution is an economic document more than anything……https://www.fte.org/teachers/teacher-resources/lesson-plans/efiahlessons/constitution-econ-doc/

In fact, the inquiry which follows is based upon the political science of James Madison, the father of the Constitution and later President of the Union he had done so much to create. This political science runs through all of his really serious writings and is formulated in its most precise fashion in The Federalist as follows: “The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties in the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of society into different interests and parties… The most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination, A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit and party of faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.”

https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/an-economic-interpretation-of-the-constitution-of-the-united-states/ Any thoughts or comments? Learn Stuff! I Read, I Write, You Know “lego ergo scribo”