The Constitution and the American Political Tradition


Since 1900, combined government spending in the United States—local, state, and federal—has grown from less than eight percent of GDP to nearly forty percent. In addition, the people’s representatives have abdicated their constitutional legislative power to executive agencies, agencies which now exercise all three functions of government. Although these trends indicate America has moved away from the Founders’ understanding of constitutionally limited government, self-government can be restored through a revival of a constitutional understanding of public policy.


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Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, where he is also a professor of politics and history. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He also studied at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 to 2000, he served as president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He serves on several boards of directors, and he previously served on the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors for two years for which he earned the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2015, he received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. A member of numerous organizations including the Churchill Centre, he is the author of three books: Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It; and, most recently, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.