Good and Evil in the American Founding: The 2023 Vaughan Lecture on America's Founding Principles

23 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2024

Date Written: May 27, 2024

Abstract

The past few decades have seen a broad moral reevaluation of the American Founding. Both on the left and on the right, many now regard the Founders’ ideals as less valuable and their failings as more salient. These reckonings are necessary, but they also risk missing something important: a richer and more human understanding of the past, together with a recognition of the great good that the American Founding achieved, here and elsewhere. This Essay discusses how we ought to understand the Founders’ historical legacy—and why we might respect and indeed honor their contributions with open eyes.

Keywords: America, Founding, liberalism, history, politics, statues, monuments, slavery, George Washington, Newport Congregation, Touro Synagogue, American Jews

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K19, N31, N41, P1, P10

Suggested Citation

Sachs, Stephen E., Good and Evil in the American Founding: The 2023 Vaughan Lecture on America's Founding Principles (May 27, 2024). Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4843831

Stephen E. Sachs (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5009 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/11417/Sachs

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