WHAT SHOULD AMERICA’S NEXT PRESIDENTSTAND FOR?
By Thomas L. Krannawitter
Editor: As a nonpartisan think tank, Centennial Institute cannot say who should win the presidency this year. But we are emphatic about what principles should prevail next year. Here is the inaugural address we’d hope to hear when America’s chief executive takes the oath on January 20, 2013. It will be discussed in depth at the Western Conservative Summit, this month in Denver.
Fellow Americans, I stand beforeyou honored, and humbled, to takethe sacred oath of President of theUnited States. I stand before you with great hope, but also with graveconcerns at the precarious state of our Union. As Americans, we live in aconstitutional republic of our own design and direction. The freedom we enjoy is unmatched in theannals of history. We are fortunate; some would say blessed.But it is nowhere foreordained that America will remain free. America places its destiny inthe hands of its citizens who can then make of America what they will, for better or worse. The future of ourcountry literally depends on the character and education,the choices, of our citizens. What to do with America,and how to do it, are questions each new generation of Americans must wrestle with and decide for themselves.
Principles of Freedom
This does not mean that we are abandoned to making thesefateful choices blindly or arbitrarily. America was foundedon distinctive moral, political, and economic principles— principles of freedom incorporated in a political regime
for the rst time ever by the men and women of 1776.
As Thomas Jefferson explained, “Every species of
government has its specic principles. Ours are perhaps
more peculiar than those of any other in the universe.”By learning these principles—and the logic of individual,
political, economic, and religious freedom that ows from
Editor, John AndrewsPrincipled Ideas from the Centennial Institute
Volume 4, Number 6 • June 2012
Publisher, William L. Armstrong
Thomas L. Krannawitter
(Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is professor ofpolitical science at Colorado Christian University, a Centennial Institute fellow,and the author of
Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of Our Greatest President
sponsors research, events, and publications to enhancepublic understanding of the most important issues facing our state and nation.By proclaiming Truth, we aim to foster faith, family, and freedom, teach citizen-
ship, and renew the spirit of 1776.
Inaugural 2013:A standard forwhoever wins
them—we today can prepare ourselves to make vitally important choices in our personal, as well as our public,capacities and to make them wisely. The foundation for allour freedoms rests upon simple, self-evident truths:
• That all men are created equal in their natural rights to life,
liberty, personal property, and the pursuit of happiness;
• That the only legitimate form of government derives its
authority and power from the consent of those who aregoverned by it;
• That the only legitimate purpose of government is to
secure those equal rights with which all the governed havebeen equally endowed by their Creator, not to dispenseunequal entitlements and favors to different groups;
• That the only legitimate way for government to advance
its purpose is through laws that are fair, knowable,constitutional, and provide equal protection to all who liveunder them. These principles were given political life by our wisely-designed Constitution. It may not be perfect—no humanconstitution ever will be perfect. But itis a work of political genius, the closestapproximation to a perfect constitution of liberty the human mind has ever conceived.
A Proud Story
Even the sad story of human slavery and its inuence on
the drafting of the Constitution is a monument to liberty: Trying to deal with an evil institution which they did notcreate, but had inherited and could not easily or quickly eradicate, the Americans of our Founding made only thoseconcessions to slavery that were utterly necessary to keepour Union together, and were therefore the right thing todo at that moment, in that situation. They restricted the
spread and inuence of slavery as much as possible and
they paved the way for its eventual total elimination— perhaps America’s greatest moral achievement, made
R e g i s t e r N o w
H e l p S a v e A m e r i c a “ C a l l i n g A l l C i t i z e n s ”
W e s t e r n C o n s e r v a t i v e S u m m i t 2 0 1 2