The Constitution is one of the great achievements of political philosophy; and it may be the only political achievement of philosophy in our society. The Framers of the Constitution and the leading participants in the debates on ratification shared a culture more thoroughly than did any later American political elite. They shared a knowledge (often distorted, but shared nevertheless) of ancient philosophy and history, of English common law, of recent English political theory, and of the European Enlightenment.They were the American branch of the Enlightenment,and salient among their membership credentials was their belief that reasoned thought about politics could guide them to ideal political institutions for a free people.
Publication Information & Recommended Citation
Regan, Donald H. "Philosophy and the Constitution." In vol. 3 of Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, edited by Leonard W. Levy, Kenneth L. Karst, and Dennis J. Mahoney, 1385-7. New York: Macmillan, 1986.