GOVT 2301
Week Fifteen
Readings, Notes, and Assignment



- The Founders' Constitution: Chapter 17 - Constitutional Government
- The Founders' Constitution: Chapter 18 - Epilogue: Securing the Republic

Let's try to wrap things up in these two readings. What type of government was established, in fact, in the Constitution? And, more importantly, what role does the citizen play in preserving the nature of the republic?

I'd like everyone to write a summarizing 250 word commentary on the following text copied from Chapter 18:

The whole elaborated system of federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, enumerated powers, secured rights, periodic accountability of officials to the electorate, and the other arrangements that were to give American constitutionalism its special character were so many barriers against the persistent and predictable forces that might make popular government a hollow or cruel mockery. But governmental institutions could go only so far. While a constitution and its institutions might elicit and shape certain kinds of conduct, it also was true that a corrupt or slavish people could ruin even a very good constitution. What really mattered, in the last analysis, was the kind of people who would make up the American public. Their strengths, their limits, were the outer boundaries of what was possible.

What does that last sentence really mean? What kind of people should make up the American public? What does the author mean by "strength" and "limits." How might these be the "outer boundaries of what was possible?" What is the author talking about?