"If men were
angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to
govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government
would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be
administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this:
you must first enable the government to control the governed;
and in the next place oblige it to control itself."
- James Madison,
The "father of the Constitution"
framed the difficulty well. Madison believed, of course, that the
Constitution - guided by an understanding of "the new science of
politics" - created a system that dealt successfully with the great
difficulty. "In the extent and proper structure of the Union,
therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most
incident to republican government."
The 218 years of history since the
framing of the Constitution have tested this belief. Many of our
trials have come in dealing with the essential problem of American
democracy. That problem was plainly stated by Abraham Lincoln - the
conflict between the liberty we possessed and the equality that we
were striving for.
||"Four score and
seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a
new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great
civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
- from The
Other trials have come from
economic changes, technological advances, and foreign threats, among
Our study in AP U.S. Government and
Politics will focus on these these trials and the institutions and
processes we use to deal with them.
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