do that which other governments prior to it had done—that is, trample upon the rights and liberties of its citizens. In such cases, again as articu- lated in the Founding documents, it was the right of the people to “alter or abolish” government. Of course, those who demanded accountability from government did not ordinarily act with malice or with the thought of overthrowing government. Such individuals fought to preserve and protect the gov- ernment. In the American lexicon today, these individuals are com- monly viewed as “patriots.” Indeed, the term “patriot” holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. Elementary school children learn that it was patriots who jumped aboard English ships and dumped tea over- board into Boston Harbor in 1773. The men who risked their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to forge the Declaration of Independence are considered patriots. George Washington, who selflessly put aside a life of leisurely retirement to serve his country as the first president of the United States, was a patriot. Patriots were once thought of as those who supported and sustained their government despite its shortcom- ings. Even the Framers of the U.S. Constitution knew that the govern- ment that they were constructing was not perfect.9 Yet they supposed that citizens, through civic virtue, would rally to the new government and support it. After all, the alternative was the uncertainty and chaos that were evident throughout much of the world in the late 18th cen- tury. To support the fledgling government in the face of uncertainty was, in and of itself, the act of a patriot and a patriotic undertaking that would be passed down from generation to generation. Throughout its history, however, there have been Americans who felt it their duty not to unquestioningly support their government but to ensure that government did not become that which the “original” patriots feared—expansive government that grows unchecked and continually tramples on the rights and liberties of its citizenry. Thus, throughout American history, there has been another strain of patrio- tism that has walked side by side with the more traditional notion accepted by most Americans. This is the patriot who does not accept the broad interpretations of government that have come to characterize U.S. politics today. Whereas most Americans will accept the notion that the Founders could not possibly have envisioned the complexity of life in the 21st century and the manner in which government must be mobilized to meet such challenges, there is another segment that be- lieves that any change to the original structure of the government does damage to the intent of those who so carefully crafted it. These indi- viduals point to the innate fear and distrust the Founders had of large xii Introduction
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