The Government that Governs Best

Asks the question: does the government that governs least govern the best?

There are many who believe that a true, freedom-loving democracy consists of a government that stays out of the business of its citizens as much as possible. This paper questions whether a government that does not govern much at all can really be an effective government. Even more importantly, it questions whether a government that does not govern much can protect and preserve the very democracy and freedom that created it in the first place. This paper looks at the writings of Alex de Tocqueville, specifically, his book, “Democracy in America”, in order to determine if the government that governs least really is best.
“For most of the history of the United States, the idea that the government should not be very strong and should leave the people mainly to themselves has been a common theme of opinion among both the people and the politicians. It was certainly the common idea of the day when the Articles of Confederation were installed as our first constitution. The Articles of Confederation created a weak, loose league of friendship between the states, but established no real sort of federal government. The federal government it did create had no power beyond what the states gave it. As a result, nothing much ever got done, and the government and the states soon found out that the United States as a whole was not able to pay its bills, regulate its commerce, or ensure domestic tranquility.”