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Understanding the Progressive Constitution

with Ronald Pestritto

During the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked to define the particular political philosophy that best captured her political ideals. She answered by asserting that she was not a liberal but a progressive. The hope of the progressive is best understood, Clinton observed, by looking back to its roots in the early twentieth century. While the term “liberal” is typically associated with a belief in larger government and more programs to assuage inequalities, Clinton argued that progressivism best contains and expresses the philosophical premises of the belief in government’s firm, superintending role in modern civil society. Given this interesting statement and the current debates over federalism and the powers of the commerce clause, Liberty Law Talk thought it would be profitable to explore the intellectual roots of progressivism in a conversation with noted expert, Ronald Pestritto.

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