Heritage Celebrates 226 Years of the Constitution

On September 17, we celebrate the birth of one of our most important national documents: the Constitution of the United States.

At the core of this 226-year-old document are the first principles our Founding Fathers envisioned: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. These are the same principles The Heritage Foundation promotes today.

Heritage will celebrate the Constitution’s anniversary with our sixth annual Preserve the Constitution Series, which kicks off on Tuesday, September 15. Presented by Heritage’s Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial studies, this is a seven-part lecture series that culminates in the annual Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture, featuring Judge Carlos Bea. The lineup also includes former solicitor general Paul Clement, who will preview the upcoming Supreme Court term; Chapman University’s John Eastman, who will debate birthright citizenship and the Constitution; and many more.

Get information on the full series and how to attend.

And don’t forget to check out Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution, which provides a clause-by-clause analysis of the entire Constitution from top legal minds.

How will you celebrate Constitution Day?

How the Tyranny of the Majority Threatens Our Freedom

Alexis de Tocqueville, the Frenchman who visited America for nine months and chronicled his journey in “Democracy in America,” understood our nation with more clarity and depth than we understand ourselves today.

Tocqueville predicted that tyranny of the majority would someday pose a real threat to Americans’ freedom. Heritage expert Arthur Milikh explains why Tocqueville’s prediction is true to our modern world:

Despots of the past tyrannized through blood and iron. But the new breed of democratic despotism “does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body and goes straight for the soul.”

That is, the majority reaches into citizens’ minds and hearts. It breaks citizens’ will to resist, to question its authority, and to think for themselves. The majority’s moral power makes individuals internally ashamed to contradict it, which in effect silences them, and this silencing culminates in a cessation of thinking. We see this happen almost daily: to stand against the majority is to ruin yourself.

We need to take Tocqueville’s warnings seriously. America requires statesmanship and intelligent guidance to fight off any threat that diminishes our freedom.

Do you think individuals’ voices have been weakened and isolated by despotic majorities?