chapter
2 Pages

Introduction to Part One

ByKenneth Kipnis

The US Constitution is an historical document, penned by men who occupied places within particular social settings and discrete intellectual traditions. The Constitution, we are told, sets out the basis for a system of social institutions within which citizens can live together with stability and mutual respect, notwithstanding their pursuit of private interests. Both the structure of social institutions and the natural sentiments of their citizens can "foster actions for the common good and the virtuous dispositions that inclines to them." Justice should be superceded by a social solidarity that validates difference; the ideal of liberty superceded by an ideal of liberation. In "The Purposes of the Constitution," Mazor reconsiders the historical ideals of national unity, defense, order, justice, liberty, and welfare. With respect to national defense, the Constitution's identification of it with military power now endangers the entire world.