Principles of Liberty
The 28 Great Ideas That Are Changing the World
I am sure it is easier to make sense of things using principles. Imagine memorizing multiplication tables without the use of principles. Try getting in shape to run a mile race as fast as you can but not knowing any fitness and aerobic conditioning principles. Both of these tasks as well as knowing about good government are all easier because of the principles that relate to them.
W. Cleon Skousen searched and studied over 150 volumes of the Founding Fathers original writings, minutes, letters, biographies, etc. and distilled the ideas into The Five Thousand Year Leap, published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1981.
1. The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.
2. A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.
3. The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders.
4. Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.
5. All things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible.
6. All men are created equal.
7. The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things.
8. Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.
9. To protect man’s rights, God has revealed certain principles of divine law.
10. The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.
11. The majority of the people may alter or abolish a government that has become tyrannical.
12. The United States of America shall be a republic.
13. A constitution should be structured to permanently protect the people from the human frailties of their rulers.
14. Life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure.
15. The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations.
16. The government should be separated into three branches – legislative, executive, and judicial.
17. A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power.
18. The unalienable rights of people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written constitution.
19. Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained in the people.
20. Efficiency and dispatch require government to operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the right of the minority.
21. Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom.
22. A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men.
23. A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education.
24. A free people will not survive unless they stay strong.
25. “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”
26. The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore, the government should foster and protect its integrity.
27. The burden of debt is as destructive to freedom as subjugation by conquest.
28. The United States has a manifest destiny to be an example and a blessing to the entire human race.