So you’ve overthrown an unjust government. What next? That’s the position the U.S. found itself in after sending the Declaration of Independence to the British Crown.
The nascent U.S. was guided by the Lockean principle that government derives its power not by force, lineage, or scripture, but by the consent of the governed. That’s great in theory, but in practice it means that every American would have to consent to proposed laws before they could be instituted.
Learn More: Is There a Right to Revolution?
The Founders were able to overcome this logistical challenge by setting up institutions that would guarantee liberty without being so radically democratic as to be unworkable.
See Also: Why Our Founding Fathers Risked It All
In Episode 6 of the six part series on America’s founding below, Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Sarah Burns explains what incredible character and courage it took for American colonizers to throw off their oppressive government. This explains why such rebellions are so rare.