Cato Policy Report, November/December 1999
Vol. 21, No. 6
|Randy E. Barnett|
|Mark A. Groombridge|
Pilon Discusses Constitution in Cato’s Letters
The latest in the Cato’s Letters series (no. 13) is an essay by Roger Pilon, Cato’s vice president for legal affairs, titled “The Purpose and Limits of Government.” In it, Pilon discusses the moral, political, and legal theory behind the Declaration of Independence, then shows how that theory is reflected in the Constitution and how modern constitutional law has departed in major ways from the original design.
“The most cursory reading of the writings of the day makes it plain that the Founders intended nothing like our present American leviathan,” Pilon writes, adding that “many of the grievances the Declaration lists, which led to our revolt, are today the ordinary stuff of government in America.”
The Cato’s Letters series features distinguished essays on political economy and public policy. The name Cato’s Letters is taken from a series of early 18th-century essays on political liberty that played a major role in laying the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 1999 edition of Cato Policy Report.