One oft-overlooked aspect of the Constitution’s genius is the Framers’ humility. They had two animating ideals to guide the Republic they designed. The first, of course, was liberty: The United States would be the first Republic in history in which sovereignty was vested in “We the People,” not the central government; in which the central government’s function was to serve rather than rule the people; and in which the citizen’s autonomy over his life and property was presumed—the central government permitted to burden it only in limited and strictly defined ways. The second ideal was separation of powers: The recognition that power was necessary but inherently corruptive. For liberty to survive, power would need to be divided in a calculated...

 
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