When Alexis de Tocqueville travelled to the United States in 1831 and 1832 he was struck by the energy of American democracy. Americans, he observed, were continually engaged in governing themselves and that engagement spilled over into the economy and society generating an uncommon vitality. A primary reason for this energy and vitality was America’s decentralized political system. Through the Constitution’s system of federalism power was divided between national and subnational governments allowing citizens to decide local questions for themselves. This decentralization he contended draws individuals out of private life and compels them to civic engagement.

Federalism is one of the great innovations of the American Founders. Before the American Constitution, governments were either national with all power concentrated in a central government or confederal with individual governments retaining sovereignty and voluntarily cooperating for limited purposes, like the Articles of Confederation that preceded the Constitution. The idea that power over individuals could be shared between a national government and multiple state governments was new. The system created by the Constitution was so new that that the authors did not have a word for it so they changed the meaning of the old word “federal”. At the time federal simply meant confederation.

This is why James Madison said in Federalist No. 39 that the Constitution was “neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both” (James Madison, Federalist No. 39, 1788). He decided to call this hybrid arrangement a “compound republic.”

What did Madison mean when he said that the Constitution was neither national nor federal? Madison first noted that the national government itself embodied federal features in its composition. State legislatures controlled who would vote in the Electoral College and how Senators would be elected in the Senate. Amendments to the Constitution required the approval of the states. But the best way to answer this question is to consider the nature of the powers delegated to the national government and those reserved to the states. The national government has “enumerated” powers listed in the body of the Constitution and the authority of the national government does not extend beyond them. Some of those powers, such as taxation, are concurrent powers which means that both the national government and state governments can exercise them simultaneously. The principle of enumerated powers also implies that if the Constitution does not grant a power to the national government that it is reserved to the states.

This principle was reaffirmed in the Tenth Amendment, which says that powers not delegated by the Constitution to the national government “are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.”

For the Founders the great benefit of this system was that it would help prevent a dangerous accumulation of power in one level of government. James Madison said in Federalist No. 51 that the division of power between state and national governments along with the system of separation of powers created a “double security” for the rights of the people. But the Framers thought that federalism would also improve the quality of government. Limiting the national government to decide questions of national importance would prevent it from having to decide questions requiring local knowledge. And allowing states to decide questions of local importance would allow for innovation and diversity among the states. In a nation as vast as the United States it would be unwise, they thought, to impose a uniform policy except when needed on the entire country.

Today, for instance, should we expect vast, less-populated western states to have the same speed limits as smaller congested, densely-populated states on the East Coast? Or should Mississippi have to have the same gambling laws as Nevada?

Technically, since the Constitution only refers to the national government and the states, federalism only refers to a division of power between them. But more broadly federalism embodies a fundamental principle of decentralization of power, the decentralization which so impressed Tocqueville. Americans govern themselves not only through their state and national governments but also through a myriad of subnational government including counties, municipalities, school districts, and “special districts” such as water and transportation authorities that perform particular functions often across multiple jurisdictions. This vast array of governments allows for competition among them to attract residents and businesses. These “consumers” can select the government that offers the best basket of goods and services for their needs. This competition makes government responsive to the demands of citizens. Municipalities, for instance, know that if they levy exorbitant taxes that produce little apparent benefit or higher taxes that do produce benefit to their residents, those residents can move to a more congenial jurisdiction.

Since the Founding the relationship between the national government and state and local governments has dramatically changed. Almost always this change has been in the direction of concentrating more power in the national government. The period prior the Civil War was the closest America came to a system of dual federalism where there was little overlap in the functions of the national and state governments. A primary reason for this was that the national government had relatively few functions, the most prominent being delivering the mail. Most federal employees prior to the Civil War worked for the Post Office, a fact which prompted the quip that the United States was a post office with a government attached.

The Civil War had profound effects on American federalism. Most importantly, it was a war and wars are always centralizing events. Carrying them out requires taking power from the periphery and bringing it to the center. But most importantly, as a practical matter it settled the debate over whether the Constitution was a compact from which the states could secede. Interesting theoretical discussions still occur on this question but politically the Civil War settled the debate against secession. Three Civil War Amendments, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth, were added to the Constitution. Respectively, these amendments would forbid slavery, guarantee due process and equal protection for all state citizens, and forbid denying the right to vote based on race. Sadly, the promises of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments would not be fulfilled until well into the twentieth century.

Shortly after Reconstruction ended southern states instituted a system of segregation laws (known as Jim Crow laws) aimed at keeping the races apart and denying blacks basic civil liberties.

The Progressive era around the turn of the twentieth century laid the foundation for even greater centralization. Important areas of economic activity that had previously been left to the states became subject to national regulation. Most importantly, the Sixteenth Amendment which authorized a national income tax was added to the Constitution. Without the financial resources provided by an income tax, the vast expansion of the federal government during and following the New Deal would have been impossible.<

The personal income taxes collected by the Internal Revenue Service has in large part funded the twentieth-century administrative state.

But it would be Franklin Roosevelt’s domestic agenda, the New Deal, that would bring about the most decisive transformation of American federalism. Responding to the Great Depression, Roosevelt created an immense administrative apparatus to regulate the American economy. Over a hundred agencies were established. Often referred to as “alphabet agencies” these offices regulated everything from housing through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to airlines through the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA).

But while the national government established more and more programs, it often relied on the states to implement those programs. Primarily the national government used grants to entice states to carry out federal initiatives. Largely nonexistent prior to the New Deal, grants became and remain the primary way that the national government controls the states. Importantly, these grants always come with conditions. The federal government requires that in order for the states to receive the grant, they must accept certain conditions. States are free to reject the grant and the strings that come with it, but in practice states find it all but impossible to forego federal money. Two of the more noticeable examples of the imposition of a nationwide policy through grants were the twenty-one year old drinking age established by the National Minimum Drinking Act in 1984 and the educational requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed in 2001. With the former, Congress required states to adopt the policy in order to receive federal highway funds and the latter stipulated that federal education funding was contingent the implementation of NCLB.

Additionally, during Roosevelt’s presidency, and at his urging, the Supreme Court dramatically loosened its interpretation of the Commerce Clause.
No child left behind
President George W. Bush signing the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), which brought billions of federal dollars and federal control into local education.

The Commerce Clause the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate interstate commerce. Starting in the 1930s, the Court began expanding what Congress could regulate under the clause. Eventually it established a “substantial effects” test which held that activity unrelated to interstate commerce could still be regulated if in the aggregate it had substantial effects on interstate commerce. Under this test the Court went so far as to hold in Wickard v. Filburn (1942) that Congress could regulate the amount wheat that farmers grew for personal consumption. An Ohio farmer, Roscoe Filburn, admitted that he was growing more wheat than his allotment permitted but used that excess only on his own farm and was not selling it. Growing wheat for private consumption, he argued, was not commerce of any kind, much less interstate commerce, and not subject to Congressional regulation. But according to the Court, by growing extra wheat on their own land farmers like Roscoe Filburn would not be purchasing wheat and that would affect the interstate market for wheat. Thus government could regulate production for personal use.

The next major expansion of federal power over the states occurred during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became the primary lever for ending segregated schooling in the South. In the ten years following the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education almost no meaningful desegregation occurred. Under the Civil Rights Act the federal government could withhold education funding from unlawfully segregated school districts. The threat of losing federal funding convinced previously convinced segregationists to reconsider their commitment to segregation. And it was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that dismantled Jim Crow laws designed to prevent blacks from voting.

Johnson’s “Great Society” program dramatically increased the use of grants to fight a “war on poverty.” The consequences of those programs remain contentious between liberals and conservatives. In the fifty years since Johnson launched his war, America has spent over $20 trillion on anti-poverty programs but the percentage of American officially living in poverty, fifteen percent in 2014, has remained the same. These less than encouraging results have led conservative scholars to argue that instead of alleviating poverty, the war on poverty entrenched it and bred dependency on the government. Defenders of the war on poverty argue that while it did not end poverty, it did alleviate some of the worst fears facing the poor. There are both conservative and liberal critics of the official poverty measure who argue that the standard of living of the poor has dramatically improved. On many other measures such as lifespan, level of education, housing, car ownership, and access to modern conveniences like computers the lives of the poor have dramatically improved.

Johnson’s presidency also saw the beginning of what came to be called unfunded mandates. These are requirements that Congress imposes on state and local governments and the private sector but provides no funding to meet them. Often these mandates support laudable goals such as clean air or access for the disabled. But they shift the burden of funding them to state and local governments which are limited in their ability to raise additional revenue. State and local governments cannot print money and often are forbidden from running deficits in their state constitutions. Because Congress does not have to consider cost exaggerates, it avoids the difficult but necessary calculation of the most efficient use of tax dollars.

Congress does not have to consider what economists call opportunity cost—whether a dollar spent on one program would be better spent on another or not at all. Since opportunity cost is necessary for rational decision-making unfunded mandates compel state and local governments to inefficiently and irrationally allocate their limited resources.

While state and local governments have clearly been on the losing end of a nearly two-century trend toward increased centralization, it would be a mistake to think that they are irrelevant. For most Americans, state and local governments remain than ones that most directly affect their lives on a daily basis. State and local governments have been policy innovators in areas such as welfare and education reform. The most important welfare legislation of the past two decades, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, was modeled on reforms implemented in the states. And states and local school districts have been responsible for most of the education reforms, particularly in troubled urban school districts, that have provided increased opportunities for parents to select schools best suited for their children. Ultimately, since the Constitution guarantees the states’ existence, questions of federalism and the intricacies of governing in a compound republic will always be at the heart of American politics.

This reading brought to you by:

BRI Logo
Law of Demand
As prices decrease, the quantity demanded increases or as prices increase, the quantity demanded decreases.
Natural rights
Rights which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.
Inalienable rights
Rights which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.
Except where authorized by people through the Constitution, government does not have the authority to limit freedom.
Popular sovereignty
The power of government flows from the people.
Separation of powers
A system of distinct powers built into the constitution, to prevent an accumulation of power in one branch.
Checks and balances
Powers distributed among the branches of government allowing each to limit the application of power of the other branches and to prevent expansion of power of any branch.
The people delegate certain powers to the national government, while the states retain other powers; and the people, who authorize the states and national government, retain all freedoms not delegated to the governing bodies.
Fairness or reasonableness in the way people are treated or decisions are made.
private property
The natural right of all individuals to create, obtain, and control their possessions, beliefs, faculties, and opinions, as well as the fruits of their labor.
limited government
Citizens are best able to pursue happiness when government is confined to those powers which protect their life, liberty, and property.
representative government
(or republican government) Form of government in which the people are sovereign (ultimate source of power) and authorize representatives to make and carry out laws.
republican government
(or representative government)Form of government in which the people are sovereign (ultimate source of power) and authorize representatives to make and carry out laws.
civil discourse
Reasoned and respectful sharing of ideas between individuals is the primary way people influence change in society/government, and is essential to maintain self-government.
The fundamental principles by which a state or nation is governed. The United States Constitution, written in 1787, lays out the roles and powers of each of the three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial), the protections of due process and rule of law in the states, a republican form of government, and the manner in which to amend the document.
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson was a Virginia plantation owner who was the principle author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson served as a legislator and governor in Virginia, as well as an ambassador to France, Secretary of State under George Washington, Vice President under John Adams, and the third President of the United States. During his political career, Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party with James Madison, and he bought the Louisiana Purchase from France. After his presidency, Jefferson started the University of Virginia near his home, Monticello.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution, ratified in 1791, which limit government power and protect individual liberties, including the freedoms of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly, as well as protections against cruel and unusual punishment, unreasonable search and seizure, and other due process rights.
Second Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects citizens’ rights to create a militia and to bear arms. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Due Process
The government must interact with all persons according to the duly-enacted laws; applying these rules equally among all persons.
Every individual is equal to every other person with respect to natural rights and treatment before the law.
Consent of the governed
The authority of the government must come from the people through elections and through the people’s interaction with government.
Individual responsibility
Individuals must take care of themselves and their families, and be vigilant to preserve their liberty and the liberty of others.
Rule of law
Government officials and citizens all abide by the same laws regardless of political power.
Declaration of Independence
The document written in 1776 by the Founders to send to Britain’s King George III in which independence from Britain was declared and the reasons for the separation were explained.
Articles of Confederation
The first national government document developed in 1781 by the Founders. The Articles created a federal legislative branch, but there was no executive or judiciary. The states retained most of the governmental powers.
The group of people who wrote and influenced the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the United States Constitution, and the United States Bill of Rights. These men were instrumental in establishing the nation and its governmental documents and practices.
Federalist Papers
A series of 85 essays written to convince the people of New York to ratify the Constitution. The authors were James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. These documents are considered to be the most authoritative explanation of the political theory of the Constitution.
First Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, and freedom to petition the government. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Law of Supply
As the price drops, the quantity supplied also drops.
Fourth Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects citizens’ rights against unreasonable searches and seizures of property and explains that warrants must be issued with probable cause. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Fifth Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects the right indictment by a jury, against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, loss of life, liberty, or property without due process, and just compensation for private property taken for public use. “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Tenth Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it states that the powers not enumerated or delegated in the Constitution are reserved for the states and the people. “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.”
Eighth Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects against excessive bail and fines and cruel and unusual punishments. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Ninth Amendment
Ratified in 1791, the listing of certain rights protected by the Constitution cannot be used to deny rights not enumerated in the document. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Alexander Hamilton
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton served as General Washington’s chief of staff, promoted the ratification of the Constitution in the Federalist Papers, and founded the nation’s financial system and first political party.
James Madison
Madison was a Framer who was instrumental in writing the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He is known as the “Father of the Constitution.” Madison partnered with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write the Federalist Papers in support of the ratification of the Constitution. He also served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, the United States House of Representatives, Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson, and the fourth president of the United States.
George Washington
First President of the United States, George Washington served as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
John Locke
An English philosopher and physician, John Locke was one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers and is known today as the Father of Classical Liberalism.
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress, comprised of delegates from 12 of the 13 American colonies, represented the colonists during and after the American Revolution. The Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence and ratified the Articles of Confederation.
King George III
King George III was the King of Great Britain at the time of the American Revolution. His actions towards the American colonies, outlined in the Declaration of Independence, spurred the American Revolution.
Great Depression
Spanning ten years from 1929 to 1939, the Great Depression was one of the longest-lasting economic downturns in the history of the United States affecting the U.S. and most of the world.
An introductory statement, preface, or introduction.
Cruel and unfair treatment by people with power over others.
Using power over people in a way that is cruel and unfair.
John Adams
Before becoming the second President of the United States, John Adams served as the country’s first Vice President under George Washington. Adams was an advocate of American independence from Britain and a Federalist.
John Jay
Founding Father John Jay was one of the signers of the Treaty of Paris and served as the first Chief Justice of the United States. He was also one of the authors of the Federalist Papers.
Third Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects citizens against the quartering of soldiers in private homes without their approval. “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Sixth Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects the rights of impartial jury trials, the right to be informed of the accusations against you, the right to be confronted by witness, and the right to be assisted by counsel. “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
Seventh Amendment
Ratified in 1791, it protects the right of jury trials in law suits dealing with more than twenty dollars and protects against reexamination of the trial in any court if decided by a jury. “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
French political thinker and historian, Alexis de Tocqueville is best known for his works Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution. He visited the U.S. in the 1830s and wrote admiringly about many aspects of American law and society.
Democracy in America
Written by Alexis de Tocqueville after visiting the United States, Democracy in America contains de Tocqueville’s analysis of and reflections on the United States’ democratic system and society. The first volume was published in 1835 and the second in 1840.
Magna Carta
Written in 1215, it is the oldest document in the British and American heritage of rights. Contributed to the adoption of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments of the Bill of Rights, and speaks of these rights as ancient.
Two Treatises of Civil Government
Written by John Locke in 1690, the Two Treatises of Civil Government criticize absolute power for kings and outline Locke’s suggestions for a more civilized society based on natural rights and the social contract.
Thirteenth Amendment
The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. “Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The group of people who actually attended the Constitutional Convention and participated in writing the Constitution.
Fourteenth Amendment
Ratified in 1868, it states that all people born or naturalized in the United States are citizens and ensures that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Sixteenth Amendment
Ratified in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment gave Congress the ability to collect income taxes. “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census of enumeration.”
Eighteenth Amendment
atified in 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment introduced Prohibition, the period of United States history when the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was made illegal throughout the country. “Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. Section 2. The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.”
Twentieth Amendment
The Twentieth Amendment was ratified in 1933, and it establishes procedures for presidential succession and the start and end of federal officials’ terms of office. “Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Twenty-First Amendment
In 1933, the Twenty-First Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, ending Prohibition. “Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. Section 2. The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited. Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.”
English Bill of Rights
Passed by the British Parliament in 1689, the English Bill of Rights limited the power of the British monarch, outlined the rights of the Parliament, and guaranteed Protestants the right to bear arms.
The legislative body of the United Kingdom (known as Great Britain or England during the Founding era).
Benjamin Franklin
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin was a statesman, author, publisher, scientist, inventor and diplomat. He served in the Second Continental Congress during the American Revolution and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. In addition, Franklin helped negotiated the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War and later served as a delegate to the convention that produced the U.S. Constitution.
The right to vote.
A government in which the power belongs to citizens through the right to vote.
Fifteenth Amendment
Ratified in 1870, it states that the right could not be restricted based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
Seventeenth Amendment
Ratified in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment introduced direct election of Senators. “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures. When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct. This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.”
Nineteenth Amendment
Ratified in 1920, the amendment stated that a citizen’s right to vote must not be restricted based on gender. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
Direct Democracy
Direct democracy is a political system in which the people vote directly on policies or laws, as opposed to voting for representatives who enact laws on their behalf.
Not planned or chosen for a particular reason; done without concern for what is fair or right.
Judicial Review
The process by which courts analyze the constitutionality of an act of government.
Majority rule/minority rights
laws may be made with the consent of the majority, but only to the point where they do not infringe on the inalienable rights of the minority.
An arbitrary order or decree.
Something that is owned by a person, business, etc. This includes possessions, beliefs, faculties, and opinions, and the fruits of one's labor.
A government in which the power is held by the people.
Electoral College
A body of electors chosen by each state to vote for the president and vice president of the United States.
Conduct that reflects universal principles of moral and ethical excellence essential to leading a worthwhile life and to effective self-government. For many leading Founders, attributes of character such as justice, responsibility, perseverance, etc., were thought to flow from an understanding of the rights and obligations of men. Virtue is compatible with, but does not require, religious belief.