The repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Eighteenth Amendment underscore the meaning of the rest.
More will be said about this in Chapter 4.
The only amendment that addressed a substantive social problem was the Eighteenth.
It was the only amendment that was repealed.
The Thirteenth, which abolished slavery, and the Sixteenth, which established the power to levy an income tax, had the effect of legislation.
The purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment was to prohibit the states from treating any human being as property.
It's true that income-tax legislation followed immediately, but it's also true that the amendment concerns itself with establishing the power of Congress to act on such legislation.
The legislation came later.
The amendment route to social change is extremely limited for those who want to change the Constitution.
The history principle states that this is "path dependency."
On the one hand, the status quo is long-term and the amendment process is difficult on the other.
It is possible to establish a working structure of government through a constitution, and it is also possible to establish basic rights of citizens through a constitution.
Political change can't be prevented by a written constitution.
Every year we see change at the ballot box, in congressional rules, and in the form of new legislation.
To maintain boundaries, to protect the rule of law, to ensure the stability without which no economy can function, and to assure citizens that change will not take away their rights and liberties are all part of the purpose of a constitution.
At the beginning of this chapter, we stressed the need to look beyond the myths and rhetoric of the founding era to analyze the goals, struggle to resolve their conflicts and reach their collective goals, and the institutions that resulted from their endeavor.
The Declaration of Independence, a successful revolution, and the creation of a confederation of states with a weak central government are all part of the story of the founding.
The politicians of the Articles years and the revolutionary generation were rational actors with specific goals.
Property protection and security, unfettered opportunities to trade in domestic and international markets, and the financial security of sound currency, low taxes, and limited public debt were all wanted by merchants and manufacturers in the north.
Property protection, low tariffs to obtain manufactured goods cheaply, and access to international markets for their products and for slaves were some of the things the planters wanted.
Relief from taxes, easy credit, and policies toward debt were what small farmers wanted.
Independence, loose federation, and finally a new nation with a central government capable of effective action were the goals at different times.
A lot of collective actions are required to organize a confederation or draft a consti tution.
Free riding must be discouraged and behaviors must be coordinated.
Political leaders were involved in this process during the founding period.
Washington was pivotal in the revolutionary phase, Jefferson and Adams brought the colonies to the point of separation from the motherland, and many politicians bargained over directions to be taken by the confederation.
The historical path from colony to new nation was paved by collective action.
New institutions were needed to organize the new government.
While the mother country was preoccupied with events elsewhere, the colonial institutions were satisfactory for 150 years.
When the burdens of colonialism began to stifle the colonists' economic circumstances, independence and self-governance became institutional objectives.
Most aspects of the political order created by the founding fathers have survived more than two centuries.
The Constitution's proponents were forced to accept a bill of rights designed to limit the powers of the national government.
It was the Federalist vision of America that led to a powerful national government able to defend the nation's interests, promote its commerce, and maintain national unity.
The form of government established by the Constitution has significance far beyond its authors' interests.
We have observed that political ideals often take on their own lives.
The great political values incorporated into the Constitution continue to shape our lives in ways that the framers may not have anticipated.
When Congress gave them the power to regulate commerce among the states, they could not have known that this provision would become the basis for many federal regulatory activities in areas as diverse as the environment and civil rights.
Federalism and civil liberties will be discussed in Chapters 3 and 4.
It is worth reflecting on the Antifederalists as we close our discussion of the founding.
They show an important picture of an America that could have been.
More than two centuries of government under the federal Constitution is not enough to answer these questions.
Time will tell if the Antifederalists were right or wrong.
Liberty and Coercion is a book about the paradoxes of American government.
The fight for control of the American Revolution was fought by angry mobs and founding fathers.