How well do you understand our Constitution?

President Larry Arnn explains why the Constitution limits government.



March 25, 2013

Constitution Minute #4: Why Does the Constitution Limit Government?

STUDENT: Hello, I’m Ashley, a student at Hillsdale College. Here is Doctor Larry Arnn on why the Constitution limits government.

DR. ARNN: James Madison writes in Federalist 51 that “Men are not angels; their passions and self-interest often get the better of their reason and sense of justice, so we need government in order to protect our rights against those who would take them away”. “But for the same reason,” Madison writes, “government must be limited because people in government have passions and interests too.” Many Americans today forget this, supposing that we can do away with constitutional limits on government, supposing that the unelected bureaucrats being put in charge of our health care, for example, will rule as if they are angels. If Madison was correct about human nature this is foolish and dangerous.

STUDENT: This Constitution Minute was brought to you by Hillsdale College. To join the national conversation on the Constitution, go to