By Robert W. Hoffert
Publication by way of Hoffert, Robert W.
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Additional resources for A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas
Its purpose and role is moral. Laws, governments, and public life must contribute to the strengthening of substantive justice over injustice and mere process. The health of a community and its citizens requires a particular kind of order, not mere order. It requires an order as consistent with the natural order as is possible in history, which can only be achieved if the moral responsibility of politics is recognized and attentively pursued. The community cannot be an association of purpose if it is indifferent to the very purposes that constitute its collective life.
The Antifederalists seldom have been adequately studied or under- Page xvi stood in terms of their positive political ideas. Instead, they have been described too frequently as the adversaries of a variety of conceptual and structural elements defined by the Constitution of 1787. Chapter 7 examines the Antifederalists' perspectives in relation to: (1) a political world that already had institutional form through the Articles of Confederation; (2) theoretical direction through the Articles and Declaration of Independence; and (3) established, explicit standards and procedures of legitimacy separate from those of the 1787 Constitution.
And not surprisingly so, because it is the product of an American history that transformed purer and simpler sets of political experiences and understandings into a creation uniquely suited for the common purposes of diverse peoples in a new world. Because the basic political values broadly cherished by Americans are frequently self-contradictory, these values have been simultaneously sources for persistent political controversies as well as for integrative national purposes. The consensus that marks politics in the United States has functioned in this two-sided manner largely because the diversity of its sources, with their countervailing implications, are neither fully examined nor consciously perceived.