THIS WAS, to be sure, "the home of the free and the land of thebrave." Americans were free simply because the government was tooweak to intervene in the private affairs of the people—it did not have themoney to do so—and they were brave because a free people is alwaysventuresome. The obligation of freedom is a willingness to stand on yourown feet.The early American wanted it that way. He was wary of government,especially one that was out of his reach. He had just rid himself of far-away and self-sufficient political establishment and he was not going totolerate anything like it in his newly founded country. He recognized theneed of some sort of government, to keep order, to protect him in theexercise of his rights, and to look after his interests in foreign lands. But,he wanted it understood that the powers of that government would beclearly defined and be limited; it could not go beyond specified limits. Itwas in recognition of this fear of centralized power that the FoundingFathers put into the Constitution—it never would have been ratifiedwithout them—very specific restraints on the federal government.In other matters, the early American was willing to put his faith inhome government, in a government of neighbors, in a government that onecould keep one's eyes on and, if necessary, lay one's hands on. For thatreason, the United States was founded as a Union of separate andautonomous commonwealths. The states could go in for any politicalexperiments the folks might want to try out—even socialism, for thatmatter—but the federal government had no such leeway. After all, therewere other states nearby, and if a citizen did not like the way one stategovernment was managing its affairs, he could move across the border;that threat of competition would keep each state from going too far inmaking changes or in intervening in the lives of the citizens.