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Harvey Mansfield

Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, studies and teaches political philosophy. He has written on Edmund Burke and the nature of political parties, on Machiavelli and[…]

Harvey Mansfield discusses how we’ve strayed from the vision of the founding fathers.

Question:  Have we veered from the intentions of the founding fathers?

Harvey Mansfield: We’ve veered away from our founding by, in some cases, ceasing to believe that a founding is possible.  Some people think that it’s not possible to have permanent principles or semi-permanent principles, but that everything changes with history.  And so you would have something called the living Constitution, or a kind of historicized Constitution that the progressives first thought of in the early 19th century.  Woodrow Wilson was a great example of that.  And I think that … I think that’s a very popular view today.  And yet when it comes down to crises, I think people look at our three branches of government, the separation of powers, the fact that we have a representatives for limited terms – all these fundamental things in our Constitution – and hold onto them and still … and still believe them.

Recorded on: 6/13/07

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