The Limited Government

The First Principle that the protection of unalienable rights is the legitimate purpose and limit of government requires the government to be strong enough to fulfill its purpose yet limited to that purpose

Rejecting the belief that governments possess unlimited power, America was founded on the First Principle that the protection of unalienable rights is the legitimate purpose and limit of government (sometimes roughly referred to limited government). The Declaration of Independence recognized this as a First Principle when it explained that “to secure these rights . . . governments are instituted among men. . . .”

Founding Father Thomas Paine expressed the American sentiment when he wrote that “Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, not to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.”  Thomas Jefferson explained, “our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them.”

The second aspect of the Social Compact is that the people must consent to give the government its authority. Robert Bates, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, explained that “In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one.”

Because individuals relinquished some of their rights solely to secure their life, liberty and property, John Locke wrote, the government “can have no other end or measure when in the hands of the magistrates but to preserve the members of that society in their lives, liberties, and possessions; and so cannot be an absolute, arbitrary power over their lives and fortunes which are so much as possible to be preserved. . . .”

Thus, directly opposed to the proposition that the government is all powerful, because we have consented to the government to protect our unalienable rights, the government only has the power it needs to perform that function and auxiliary supports thereof –  nothing more.

From its founding, America embraced as a First Principle that the purpose and limit of the government is protecting the unalienable rights of its citizens.

For more about limited government and the other First Principles, buy a copy of America’s Survival Guide..



More Praise for America's Survival Guide

“This book should be required reading in our public high schools. It is well-written, gathers the reader’s interest by establishing the danger that America is in, and provides an excellent discussion of our founding principles and why they are important. Michael Warren deserves high praise for his efforts in rescuing us from the disaster of ignorance of what it means to be an American.” – Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale College, George Munson Professor of Political Economy

“Our democracy’s survival rests upon our transmitting to each new generation the political vision of liberty and equality that unites us as Americans. Jefferson stated it best when he said, ‘If we expect in a state of civilization to be ignorant and free, we expect what never was and never will be.’ Michael Warren is a true modern patriot whose efforts in education are one way to build a strong democracy for our future.” – J. Kelli Sweet, Michigan Council for the Social Studies, Executive Director

"America's Survival Guide describes with detail and passion the dangers that come from abandoning the "First Principles" upon which this nation was founded. But this important book offers more than a diagnosis and despair, it presents a reasoned program for restoring the U.S. Constitution its proper place at the center of American society and government. The book draws on history, politics and education to make a powerful case for freedom and fighting for it."

--John Engler, former Governor of Michigan

Read more praise for America's Survival Guide