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p. 115Epilogue

The founding fathers, history, and uslocked

  • R. B. Bernstein

Abstract

The “Epilogue” concludes that Americans’ contentious relationship with the founding fathers has unfolded within and been shaped by two linked questions: how much do the founding fathers resemble us and how much do they differ from us? To what extent must we keep faith with them, and to what extent must we challenge them or set them aside in the face of changing conditions and problems? The Preamble’s statement that the Constitution’s primary purpose is “to form a more perfect Union” offers a way to answer these questions. The idea of perfecting the Union has been a vital feature of American constitutional culture and, in particular, a key theme of African American constitutional thought.

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