The United States is the only country founded, not on the basis of ethnic identity, territory, or monarchy, but on the basis of a philosophy – a philosophy of representative, democratic, limited government. That philosophy, moreover, is spelled out explicitly in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and earlier works they echo, such as Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (a “little book on government” that is “perfect as far as it goes,” in Thomas Jefferson’s words). Those documents reveal the ideas on which the Founders built this nation. They also reveal how far we have strayed from those ideas.