ERIC Number: EJ824216
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
Our Federalist Roots: A Neglected Past?
Theory and Research in Social Education, v31 n2 p218-242 Spr 2003
The U.S.'s history has gone through significant cultural changes. None have been more profound than those related to a basic philosophical understanding of the foundation of our constitutional structure. This essay asks the reader to reconsider a central theory and organizational viewpoint of the founding generation, which adhered to a more communal view of political reality. This theory--called federalism--is explained and evaluated in this essay, which highlights the developmental issues that faced the early generations of the republic. The essay also provides answers to the following questions: What does federalism mean? What are the strong and weak points of federalism? Is there an opportunity to update such a view of the constitution to meet modern conditions? And how can federalism inform civic education? Federalism, in the view of the founders, is more than just a structural arrangement of governmental entities at the local and national levels; it is an operational perspective that outlines a governing experiment based on inclusion of diverse factions and on choice rather than coercion. It is also a view of government and civic society that promotes social capital. Among the main points to be reviewed in this article are the meanings of covenants and compacts (central to federalist arrangements), central control and localism, equality and liberty, morality, and public virtue, as defined by traditional federalism.
Descriptors: Citizenship Education, Social Capital, United States History, Governmental Structure, Federal State Relationship, Politics, Civics, Ethics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United States Constitution