Front Page Titles (by Subject) POINTS TO REMEMBER - Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government
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POINTS TO REMEMBER - James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government 
Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
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POINTS TO REMEMBER
1. The American Constitution is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary document. Though written in a revolutionary age, it embraces ideas and principles developed through trial and error that grew out of our colonial experience. Constitutional and legal development in England and the political history of the Greek and Roman republics also influenced the thinking of the Framers.
2. Three important political concepts drawn by the Americans from the Roman experience were the doctrines of republicanism, political virtue, and checks and balances. But it is the English Constitution, including the English charters of liberty and the English legal system, that had the greatest impact on American constitutional development. Representative government, a tradition of well-established civil liberties, and the heritage of the common law are three important political and legal institutions of England that Americans adopted in framing their own constitutions. Certain features of the English Constitution were rejected by the Americans, however, including the monarchy and the principle of legislative supremacy. The American Constitution therefore represents a blending of English and American constitutional traditions.
3. The Framers of the American Constitution had learned from ancient and from British history that republics, like other forms of government, are vulnerable to corruption, and that legislative bodies as well as courts of law can be just as much a threat to liberty as all-powerful monarchs. For this reason they did not place all their trust in any one branch of government, and they established checks on the powers of each.