Steven Pincus, Bradford Durfee Professor of History at Yale University, speaks about the influences that shaped the Founders of the United States as well as the nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence.
From one election cycle to the next, a defining question continues to divide the country’s political parties: Should the government play a major or a minor role in the lives of American citizens? The Declaration of Independence has long been invoked as a philosophical treatise in favor of limited government. Yet the bulk of the document is a discussion of policy, in which the Founders outlined the failures of the British imperial government. Above all, they declared, the British state since 1760 had done too little to promote the prosperity of its American subjects. Looking beyond the Declaration’s frequently cited opening paragraphs, Steve Pincus reveals how the document is actually a blueprint for a government with extensive powers to promote and protect the people’s welfare. By examining the Declaration in the context of British imperial debates, Pincus will speak about the Founders’ intentions with profound political implications for today.
Dmitry Suslov, Programme Director, Valdai Club Foundation.
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