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Politics & Polls #25: What does the Declaration of Independence say about limited government?

December 22nd, 2016, 9:01pm by Sam Wang

Sometimes the Declaration of Independence is hauled out as an argument for limited government. But historian Steve Pincus points out that the Declaration was actually a complaint that the government should do more to promote and protect citizens’ welfare. Blew my mind. Julian Zelizer and I interviewed him about his new book: “Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government.”

Tags: Politics

One Comment so far ↓

  • Avattoir

    Another point, not made here by Professor Pincus but I’d expect he’s noted it elsewhere, in his academic writings or his lectures, is that when comparing the treatment by the British Crown and Parliament of the several Canadian colonies (of Lower Canada – Ontario, Upper Canada – Quebec, and what came to constitute the Canadian Maritime provinces, as well as territories north of the 49th parallel and west of what then made up ‘Canada’), with how they treated the American colonies.

    That inequality of treatment, consistent with Professor Pincus’ views, goes some way to explaining why the Canadian colonies did not revolt, and instead, some 80 years following the American Revolution, succeeded in become the sort of nation-state the American Colonials had hoped for: one established more along the lines of England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688.

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