Level of Education

Doctoral

Keywords

limited government, Founding Fathers, slavery

Description

In his book Crisis and Leviathan, author Robert Higgs identifies the single most significant change to constitutional order from “original intent” to the present public policy status in the United States as the “decline of the commitment to limited government” (Higgs 2012, 4). One of the original cornerstones of constitutional order, the doctrine of limited government seemingly establishes a truth of this nation that “our Founders established this government with both a strong dependence upon religious principles and a clear limitation on federal powers” (Barton 2008, 337). However, another paradoxical truth of this nation is that our Founders were also wealthy white businessmen and slave owners whose undeniably discriminatory tactics simultaneously exploited the doctrines of limited government and capitalism for their personal financial gain. Which begs the question: Should we be surprised that limited government – a founding concept covertly reliant upon the active practice of discrimination – has crumbled?

In this paper, I will examine the origins of limited government, synthesizing this research with the conflicting social and economic ambitions of the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, to uncover the inevitable defeat of a fundamental idea rooted in greed and discrimination. I will also explore Biblically supported ways to restore the doctrine of limited government by laying a new foundation rooted in truth, accountability, and equality.

Share

COinS
 

Discriminatory Original Intent: The Inevitable Demise of America's Limited Government

In his book Crisis and Leviathan, author Robert Higgs identifies the single most significant change to constitutional order from “original intent” to the present public policy status in the United States as the “decline of the commitment to limited government” (Higgs 2012, 4). One of the original cornerstones of constitutional order, the doctrine of limited government seemingly establishes a truth of this nation that “our Founders established this government with both a strong dependence upon religious principles and a clear limitation on federal powers” (Barton 2008, 337). However, another paradoxical truth of this nation is that our Founders were also wealthy white businessmen and slave owners whose undeniably discriminatory tactics simultaneously exploited the doctrines of limited government and capitalism for their personal financial gain. Which begs the question: Should we be surprised that limited government – a founding concept covertly reliant upon the active practice of discrimination – has crumbled?

In this paper, I will examine the origins of limited government, synthesizing this research with the conflicting social and economic ambitions of the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, to uncover the inevitable defeat of a fundamental idea rooted in greed and discrimination. I will also explore Biblically supported ways to restore the doctrine of limited government by laying a new foundation rooted in truth, accountability, and equality.