A Reminder: The Constitutional Values of Sympathy and Independence
72 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2012
Date Written: 2003
Nearly all participants in the American Founding shared constitutional values values of "sympathy" and "independence." According to the ideal of sympathy, government actors should mirror the full range of popular attitudes. According to the ideal of independence, voters should remain independent of other citizens and of governmental entities, and those entities should remain independent of, and competitive with, each other. Sympathy and independence were central, not peripheral, to the Founders' Constitution, so the document cannot be interpreted properly without keeping them in view. The author provides examples of how constitutional practice might be altered had these central values not been overlooked.
Keywords: constitution, political theory, constitutional interpretation, federalism, states' rights, voter qualifications, property qualifications
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation