American foreign policy

Essentially, the design of the Constitution was meant to be subservient to the kind of values and goals the Founding Fathers had envisioned for American society. The Constitutional pre-amble is essentially an assertion of rights, and while it maintains the importance of a “perfect Union,” the insurance of “domestic Tranquility,” and the “establishment of Justice,” these points should not obscure the fact that these properties are not for the sake of the Union itself, but for the sake of the people, such that Justice, Tranquility and the like are merely the values that guarantee individuals of the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Today, the Founding Fathers would most likely be disappointed with the way things have turned out since the ratification of the Constitution. Regardless of where one stands on ‘the war on terror’ or any other the administrative agendas of the recently concluded Bush presidency, one cannot deny the growing power of the federal government, whose policy ideals have effectively dominated the states. Still, it would be a mistake to presume that the Founding Fathers shared a consensus on all matters.

As a proponent of free trade, Alexander Hamilton would celebrate what today’s economists call the ‘liberation of markets,’ whilst Jefferson would have disliked the poor income of farmers, which has left agriculture dependent on subsidies and massive industrialization to support itself in unsustainable ways. However, most would probably dislike the current political system, which as Congressional finance reform advocate Lawrence Lessig puts it, puts legislative policy at the mercy of the influence of money.

Furthermore, the massive rift induced by extreme partisanship in politics is something that most of the Founding Fathers would disapprove of as it has effectively diluted the strength of the Union by reducing all laws into a conflict of ideology. Finally, many of the Founding Fathers were isolationists, and would most likely disapprove of the interventionist character that has become defined late 20th century American foreign policy.