founding fathers

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

The Meaning of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

As we celebrate once again the anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, we can rightfully take pride in its recognition that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words remind those in government, not just in this country [...]

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation 1777

IN CONGRESS November 1, 1777 FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, [...]

Is There a Wall of Separation Between Church and State?

Until 1947, few Americans knew about Thomas Jefferson’s comment, made in a private letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, that the First Amendment’s guarantee against a federally established church made a “wall of separation between church and state.” It was in that year, in the case of Everson v. Board of Education, that the Supreme Court [...]

Striking Gold this 4th of July 

Every bride and groom hopes to strike gold and reach their 50th wedding anniversary. Every parent bringing home a baby from the hospital hopes their child reaches at least their 50th birthday and beyond. Every employee hopes their boss remembers their 50th anniversary of employment. Every florist hopes a husband buys fifty roses to honor the 50th birthday of [...]

Great Political Ideas are Sustained by Great Religious Ideas

I do not normally read the New York Times. No normal person normally does. But every once in a while I make an exception. Which is also a normal thing to do. The article I read astonished me, especially the following passage: America had a great political idea, but it had a small religious idea. [...]

Are Appeals to Natural Law and Right Reason Still Effective?

Recent months have witnessed an emerging debate among some American conservatives, especially religiously informed conservatives and, even more specifically, Catholic conservatives. This debate concerns how they can (and, in some cases, whether they should even attempt to) engage in a public square that seems ever more rooted in modern liberal presuppositions and preoccupations. At the [...]

A Forgotten Founding Father: St. Isaac Jogues

In narrating the birth of our country, no one would forget figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and, of course, George Washington. Yet Catholics know that it is truly the spiritual that forms and shapes the external reality. In this sense, when we look for the true spiritual fathers of our country, we would [...]

Conservatism Requires a Religious Foundation

Not all religious people are conservatives; and not all conservatives are religious people. Christianity prescribes no especial form of politics. There have been famous radicals who were devout Christians—though most radicals have been nothing of the sort. All the same, there could be no conservatism without a religious foundation, and it is conservative people, by [...]

The Demise of Legitimate Political Authority

Some forty years ago, in his groundbreaking study, Twilight of Authority, sociologist Robert Nisbet observed a disturbing trend in American culture. As respect for authority had declined among the population, he wrote, members of that population became increasingly willing to accept and actually applaud an increasingly powerful, albeit less legitimate, government The notion of true [...]

Equality Run Amok

It is not news to sober-minded observers that for the last half-century, equality in the U.S. has gone off the rails—politically, legally, morally, and culturally. Tocqueville had foreseen the eclipsing of liberty by the desire for equality in democratic republics like ours, and nowadays we see it vividly and routinely. Not only is the liberty [...]

Our First Right: Religious Liberty

 Editor's note: The following remarks by Archbishop Charles Chaput were submitted to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and published March 25, 2013 on Public Discourse. My remarks today are purely my own. But they're shaped by twenty-five years as a Catholic bishop and the social and religious ministries that such work involves; ministries [...]

Reclaiming America’s Religious—and Christian—Culture

Often today, we hear of Christians and other religious people engaged in struggles in the U.S. just to be able to project expressions of their faith into the public domain. Thus, for years now we have witnessed secularists of various stripes—those with a particular animosity toward anything religious—conduct a veritable assault on Christmas. The reports [...]

Democracy Ushers in the Reign of Civic Ignorance

The many analyses of the 2012 election results are not saying much about what may have been the central and fundamental problem: democracy. Notice that I do not say a democratic republic—that was the nature of the American political order as fashioned by our Founding Fathers—but a democracy. A generation ago, Martin Diamond, Winston Mills [...]

Jefferson Versus Hamilton: A Continuing Contest

This past Fourth of July marked 235 years since the Declaration of Independence was published. In this immortal document, the Spirit of ’76 was given its fullest, most eloquent expression. The Declaration is a timeless document, espousing eternal principles that, while forever historically identified with America, are universal in their application. The Fourth provided an [...]

Gross Media Ignorance

  There's little that's intelligent or informed about Time magazine editor Richard Stengel's article "One Document, Under Siege" (June 23, 2011). It contains many grossly ignorant statements about our Constitution. If I believed in conspiracies, I'd say Stengel's article is part of a leftist agenda to undermine respect for the founding values of our nation. [...]

The Home Lives of the Founding Fathers

All of the Founding Fathers were married, and most of them had children. What do the stories of the wives and families of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison tell us about the personality and character of these great Americans? In his latest book, Thomas Fleming superbly answers [...]

A Riled-Up (and Relatively Recent) Red-Stater’s Rant

I crave the indulgence of IC readers everywhere for what I am about to do, but I've been reading too much about the dangers of suppressing one's anger to keep this bottled up any longer... As a fairly recent Wyomingite attracted to the state in no small part through the hope that “The Man” would be kept [...]

Chris Matthews on Metaphysics

In my old age I have developed some new vices, the two worst being my bad habit of playing solitaire on my computer and my even worse habit of watching and listening to talking heads on cable TV, like Chris Matthews. Matthews is not the worst of them, and sometimes he's pretty good. When watching [...]

MENU