A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and by Robert W. Hoffert

By Robert W. Hoffert

Booklet through Hoffert, Robert W.

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These two political traditions grew out of the different assumptions embedded in their respective portrayals of nature and resulted in unique Page 10 agendas for legitimate political authority. In addition, they generated different perspectives, principles, and techniques for the practical definition and implementation of democratic life. At the practical level the implications of political theories touch specific characteristics of governmental structures, political processes, and public policies.

Thus, it articulates an unalloyed political tradition, most commonly Lockean in nature. There is much that is valid and significant in this understanding of American political life. Two chief limitations of this view must be noted, however. First, it neglects or sublimates the original and continuing political conflicts among Americans. For consensualists America is born whole somewhere around 1776 or 1787. The doubts, the disagreements, and the divergences of nearly two centuries of political experiences on either side of these watersheds are ignored.

Fair and uniform standards of process provide the practical basis for order and freedom. They are the Page 11 only rational limitations competitors can be expected to choose and respect, and they are the only acceptable common grounds for the predictability and security necessary to make playing the game a rational choice. Although the practicability of law is important for the law's proper functioning as an ordering device in a market society, practicability also affects concerns about freedom.

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