Several generations of political philosophy, scientific empiricism, and intellectual theory culminated in the Revolutionary War that sought the transformation of these abstract ideas into reality for a new society (Fiske, 2012). Antiquity and England itself were the principal inspirations for the ideas about independence, liberty, and the form envisioned by the Founders for their new government.
Republicanism derived from several inspirations, notably the ancient Greek and Rome societies where all citizens (except slaves, who were not accorded citizenship) subordinated their private interests voluntarily to the common good. The republics predicated their authority and stability based on citizenry and their resistance to tyranny and corruption. For republicans in the eighteenth century, a person with virtue had a high sense of morality, owned property, and was ready to subordinate his or her interests for the sake of the community (Fiske, 2012). Such are the kind of people Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers thought capable of freedom.
The Constitution Framers were visionaries. They designed the Constitution to last. They sought both to address the challenges facing America during their lifetimes and to establish foundational principles that would guide and sustain the new nation into a future that was uncertain (Levy, 2000). Their vision is reflected in the wording of the Constitution. The document defines the fundamental freedoms of Americans in general terms: “due process of law,” “freedom of speech,” “equal protection of laws,” “free exercise of religion,” “cruel and unusual punishment” among others. It also sets forth the powers of the government in general terms: the President will ensure that laws are faithfully executed, Congress may regulate commerce in several states, the courts have authority to decide on cases and