chapter
14 Pages

Introduction: The Philosophical Foundations of the U.S. Constitution

WithRichard T. De George

Individuals are born into constituted nations and grow up under the prevailing system of government, which they tend to accept as normal and legitimate. Unless they find their conditions intolerable, most people are unlikely to consider revolution or radical change and are not inclined to exchange known ills for as yet unknown demons possibly lying in wait under a new type of government. To claim that the philosophical foundations of the Constitution are to be found in the present does not imply that there is a set of contemporary philosophical views and values that uniquely underpins the Constitution. Articulating the philosophical foundations of the Constitution also provides some of those subject to it with a rationale for accepting the document and adhering to its provisions. The relation of the states and the federal government has changed over the course of the history of the United States, especially with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.