Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution
What did the American Founders actually intend for the country, and does it even matter today? William Watkins, Jr., a research fellow at the Independent Institute, will join us for a discussion of his recent book Crossroads for Liberty.
What did the American Founders actually intend for the country, and does it even matter today? If America began as an idea, then what kind of idea? In a time of increasing turmoil over American history, politics, and society, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution takes a surprising and thought-provoking look at the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution – and asks what we can learn from them.
Author William Watkins, Jr. casts a critical eye on conventional wisdom about the Articles of Confederation as he outlines the differences between that original U.S. governing document and the Constitution, which replaced it. He finds the Articles protected individual liberty and community-centered government in ways that the looser language of the U.S. Constitution did not. Watkins draws from contemporary examples of bureaucratic overreach and expansion to support his argument – examples that were startlingly predicted by proponents of small government at the time of the Constitution’s adoption. Along the way, he points back to the Articles and the values of the American Revolution as a framework for re-imagining American politics to foster liberty and truly representative governance.
Crossroads for Liberty arrives at an important time in American political life, and its re-examination of the American Founding presents a significant contribution to the story about America. Readers will come away with a greater understanding of current political and constitutional issues, as well as a new perspective on American history.
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William Watkins, Jr.Research fellow at the Independent InstituteWilliam Watkins, Jr. is a research fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the book Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. He received his B.A. in history and German summa cum laude from Clemson University and his J.D. cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a former law clerk to Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has served as a prosecutor and defense lawyer and has practiced in various state and federal courts.