Dec 6, 2019 in Exploratory

The Art and Science of Founding

This chapter investigates the nature of the phenomenon of “founding” addressing its various constituents. Among them are elements of founding, its relationship with revolution and human nature, durability, epistemology, stability, tribalism, such aspects as reason, passions, honor and spiritual sense. Thus, the author starts with the statement that not every country can allow itself the clear founding disconnected from wars and conquests. It this case, funding is regarded as evolution of the civilization unlike revolution. Thus is a gradual change in the society, which brings it on the next level. At the same time, founding requires its elements to be in tight historical connection in order to form such country as the US. Regarding this perspective people in the US associate founding with another crucial aspect, which is the Constitution. However, it was based on unspoken agreements of the society, which gradually become transcribed and obtain a material form. Therefore, the constituents of founding are the name of the country and its geographical location, the law system, governing bodies, citizens, and the “founding myth”. Such myth bears a romantic context and represents sacred feeling of the citizens regarding the processes of formation of the county. Despite its being a myth and non-material, myth may play the most significant role among these elements because it unties them. Thus, it serves as an invisible bounding line, which virtually connects, historical approaches towards citizenship, constitution and the governing bodies. At the same time, one cannot omit the role of the law and the legal system for the country because they served as a legal “bricks”, which build a “Good Society”. 


Furthermore, the history of different nations indicates that founding may be in tight connections with revolutions. Despite the fact that revolutions involve destructive processes, they may serve as a basis for founding initiatives. Fox argues that revolutions take place “because large numbers in a given society become fed up”. At the same time, revolutions may have different forms such as a rebirth of the nation, when the oppressed social masses become free of their choices. However, this case is the rarest unlike “return to Eden” and “an advance towards Utopia” where the first one means return to the previous condition while in the second a nation seeks an fights for non existing ideal state. Therefore, the type of revolution may influence the possibility of the future founding. Thus, the author indicates that, most often, revolutions lead to episodic chaos and tyranny. That is why only successful revolution with satisfied social masses may lead to further social agreement and the initiation of the process of founding. On the contrary, in case the satisfied group is in the minority, the others would suffer from inequality and injustice would lead to further social disagreements. 

Moreover, founding may be viewed from the two approaches, which are universal and particular. The first one means that “universal founding is correct for all people at all time and situations”. Such universalism implies that humans are animals of a common type, which can form a successful political society when the correct measures are applied. At the same time, a particular founding “is correct only at a given time, in a given place for a given people”. This statement means that a particular founding cannot be applied to all societies disregarding their characteristics. Therefore, people who are involved in this process should consider various aspects of founding which make it work for any separate society within a concrete time. Furthermore, the important factor is durability because durable it allows creating a sustainable stability. At the same time, such aspect requires a stable polity. 

Puritanism and the Founding

This chapter indicates that Puritanism played a significant role for American founding. The author indicates that there is some irony in the American society stating that English Puritans are the founders of America). However, it is evident that Puritans had a stable moral and legal basis, which, afterward, served as a basis for morality and legal system of the country. Puritanism involved in England in seventeenth century on the basis of Christian theology. Its gradual transition into Puritan concepts should be thankful to John Calvin, who was one of the first Puritan theologians. The basis from shaping Puritanism form Christianity was that its scholars viewed the latter as fading and losing scriptural authority. At the same time, coming from religious premises, Puritanism had its reflection in social and political paradigms of that time. The reason for this was that many respectful politicians of the mainstream parties were puritans. Consequently, Puritans were gradually creating a stable religious and political basis for the society. At the same time, there were those who disagreed with the influence of the Church. As a rule, such people were declared radicals and separatists and were not accepted by Puritan institutions. 

Furthermore, the North America served for Puritans as a significant basis for the transition into a new continent. For instance, it prided them with new colonies full of people accepting their ideas as well as giving economic opportunities. Therefore, Puritan ideas and views regarding life processes were widespread among the newcomers to the North America. The predominant concepts of Puritans in the society were human nature, confidence, newness, learning, paranoia, calling and community. Apparently, they had a significant influence towards the future statements of the Constitution. For instance, Calvin declared that human nature had a good and an evil side, which were responsible for the deeds of a person. The result of the evil deeds of people was that they disconnected from God and lost his influence. Furthermore, Puritans developed the concepts of the assumption of a guilt and innocence. As a result, such views had a direct influence on their political and legal actions transferring spiritual ideas into concrete practices. Likewise, another important concept and character of Puritans was confidence. Its benefit was an enormous courage resulting that they have settled in another continent and the ability of building cities and their infrastructure from the scratch.  Likewise, Puritans were ready to meet the New World and to transfer their spiritual concepts into it educating children and the locals. As a result, the first American society was built and educated by Puritans. That is why one cannot deny their influence on the founding. Moreover, Puritans theoretical investigations and observations of their actions caused the evolvement of the concept of “American exceptionalsim” claiming that the American way of life broke the rules. Furthermore, their theological investigations brought the concept of Scholasticism, which was characterized with extreme rationalism. Therefore, rational basis of their ideas and exercises in logics allowed Puritans creating further legal basis for the Constitution. The basic concept of their legal system was God’s law and the Old Testament, which imposed obligations on the Puritan society. At the same time, their views about the state system incorporated the elements of Republicanism, Liberalism, and Democracy. For instance, they opposed themselves to monarchs, had the idea of “natural liberty” of a person and followed the social concept of the “covenant”, which was basically democratic. Therefore, the first founding of Puritan society was addressed through the discussions of natural and civil liberty intensified by the ides of the English Enlightenment. 

American Republicanism

This chapter discusses the nature of American Revolution and republicanism indicating that the enormous social changes affected an English colony in North America. Historians may wonder about the reasons, time and place of revolution because it occurred not in the centre of the Western civilization but in a distant colony. At the same time, they agree that despite some of its aspects were improbable they worth consideration. Thus, the stimulus for the ideas of revolution was the movement of the English Enlightenment, which brought numerous ideas regarding sciences, society and religion. Moreover, its attempts of recovering the ideas of antiquity opened new concepts for western colonies. For instance, there were two antique works, Plato’s “Republic” and Aristotle’s “Politics”, which took attention of American politicians and social activists.  At the same time, the new ideas from the Enlightenment were easily spread in the American society since there were no opposing movements to this knowledge. However, the worlds and terms relating to the notion “republic” were elusive and accepted by various people differently. This was a basic cause for political discussions in which politicians argued about possible future images of the American republic. It is evident that classical republics originated in Greece and Rome but their form of tyranny or anarchy or swelling into an empire did not fit the American model. Thus, the politicians attempted binding this concept with the understanding of “Saxon democracy” opposing the “divine right of the king”. At the same time, there was an emerging controversy between the king and Parliament in England. Thus, parliament put stress on the role of people whereas King James insisted on the single source of his power. At the same time, civil war broke in 1642, when England was torn with conflict. Further events in England demonstrated a political struggle between the supporters of republican and monarch ideas. Apparently, both representatives failed to form a Good Society but after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 England had more resemblance with a republic. 

Furthermore, social changes within England forced the country towards the development of a Commonwealth ideology, which diffused to every colony of England by 1730. This ideology gradually caused independence of the colonies, which caused a set of other social changes in America. In the county at that time dominated the ideas of classical, liberal and English republicanism as well as American liberalism. At the same time, disregarding the social presumption of living, Americans were believed to have more freedoms and be more equal than their counterparts in Europe (Fox, 2003). Furthermore, the indicated ideas gradually transitioned into the vision of democratic republicanism and American democracy. The latter was achieved because of the absence of aristocracy and monarchy, which prevented the European countries from the similar way of development. Therefore, it was comparatively easy for the politics in America to adapted the best ideas in the realities of the New World. Likewise, Americans rejected all radical ideas because they were educated on Puritan premises and followed God’s laws. Therefore, the new form of democracy, which was American, rejected all those aspects, which were present in European countries restraining their development. Likewise, the distant position of the colony allowed gradual obtaining of economic and political independence. As a result, a classical republican, who was Thomas Jefferson, implemented the democratic rules towards the society of the New World and formed the basis for the American Founding. Therefore, the fact of the union of controversial political features within one society allowed realizing that it is possible to create a Good Society in a promised land of freedom and opportunity.



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