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Foundational American Perspectives

Week #1
by

Richard DeVries

on 4 September 2015

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Transcript of Foundational American Perspectives

Liberty
Individual Rights
Equality
The Rule of Law
Constitutional Government
The Democratic Republic
Federalism
Judicial Review
We identify eight major ideas that have driven American politics for centuries and that
still drive American politics today although the definitions have certainly changed in
many cases
* Liberty is the idea that human beings are free

* They have freedom to live their own lives

* It is what other countries think about when they think of the US

This theme pervades such notable documents as:

The Declaration ofIndependence (1776)
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863)
Second Inaugural Address (1865)
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech
(1963)
LIMITS GOVERNMENT RIGHTS OVER US AS INDIVIDUALS
freedom of religion
freedoms of speech and press
right to bear arms
right to a trial by jury
Fourteenth Amendment’s
equal protection clause, equality (the right to equal treatment) also has been a powerful
American political idea as an actual condition of American life, as a goal toward which
Americans aspired, or both.
“in American the law is king”

The rule of law connects with equality,
the basis for constitutional government law
basic safeguard of the general concepts of liberty and freedom.
The idea of a written constitution;
The development of the constitutional convention as a
means for writing constitutions;
The invention of the ratifying methods
The separation of powers, checks and balances, constitutional protection of liberties and rights, limited government, effective government, constitutional change, and judicial review.
This phrase stands for the complex, evolving American model of a democratic republic,one based on having the people elect (directly or indirectly) those to whom God will entrustthe power of government for limited periods.
It also encompasses the development of the American political system, including the problematic growth of democracy
federalism was a consequence of American geography and the complex spectrum of interests and differences among the peoples of the several states.

The task of dividing and balancing powers between the states and the federal government cannot achieve a final, permanently stable form; it must always remain in a delicate tension, responsive to the specific challenges of each period.
Entrusting, to an unelected body of judges, of the
power to interpret the Constitution to regulate the actions of the democratically-elected parts of the political system is the most remarkable American political invention.

(a) the requirement that judges explain and justify every assertion of this power;
(b) the scrutiny of judges’ exercises of this power by the rest of the government, the legal profession, and the people as a whole; and
(c)the prospect, via the amending process, that the people (through their elected representatives at the national and state levels of government) might overturn a decision of the United States Supreme Court purporting to hand down an authoritative interpretation of the Constitution as reason for striking down action by the democratically-elected components of government.
Biblical Perspective
These word-portraits of basic American political ideas are designed to convey their essences over time and when changes disconnect them from their roots problems arise. The true root is the revelation of God to man. These perspectives
disconnected from God become the avenue of distrust, skepticism, greed and a world of additional vices.
Full transcript