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Leadership for America

First Principles

Rediscovering our principles in order to reclaim our future.

Read more about First Principles

Statement of Purpose

The future of liberty depends on reclaiming America's first principles. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization," as Thomas Jefferson warned, "it expects what never was and never will be." Widespread ignorance of American history is but the most recognized symptom of the troubling decline in popular knowledge of fundamental principles. We face an education system that upholds mediocrity in the name of relativism; an ever-expanding and centralized government, unmoored from constitutional limits; judges openly making laws and shaping society based on pop-philosophy rather than serious jurisprudence; and growing confusion over America's legitimate role in the world, made all the more apparent by the fundamental threat posed by radical Islamists. At the root of all these problems is a pervasive doubt about the core principles that define America and ought to inform our politics and policy.

Objectives

  1. 1.To reorient American politics toward the First Principles of the American Founding.

  2. 2.To reshape public policy to reflect our constitutional framework of limited government.

  3. 3.To unify and revive a robust conservatism around, and in defense of, these core principles.

  4. 4.To provide the next generation with a strong foundation for learning and promoting our nation's founding principles.

Experts From This Initiative

  • David Azerrad David Azerrad

    David Azerrad devotes his time and research to increasing public understanding of America’s founding principles. As director of The Heritage...

  • Lee Edwards, Ph.D. Lee Edwards, Ph.D.

    As Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, Lee Edwards, Ph.D., is Heritage's in-house authority on the U.S. conservative movem...

  • Rich Tucker Rich Tucker

    Richard Tucker writes about American political thought as senior writer in The Heritage Foundation’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles ...

  • Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.

    Matthew Spalding connects the principles of the nation’s founding with today’s thorniest issues as vice president for American Studies a...

  • Joseph Postell, Ph.D. Joseph Postell, Ph.D.

    Joe Postell, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, writes and speaks about the ...

  • Edwin Meese III Edwin Meese III

    Edwin Meese III, the prominent conservative leader, thinker and elder statesman, continues a quarter-century formal association with The Her...

  • Marion Smith Marion Smith

    Marion Smith, through his research and writing at The Heritage Foundation, relates the enduring principles of America’s founding to current ...

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