Thomas Jefferson once described what he hoped to express in the Declaration of Independence with this famous expression:
This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.
Those terms came to mind last night when browsing in Barnes and Noble, I chanced upon this passage from the pen of the Gipper in the latest collection of his writings, The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom:
Liberty has never come from govt. The hist. of liberty is the hist. of limitation of govt. power not the increase of it.
Italics in original. Another expression of the American mind. And a reminder of the ideal hat defined our modern conservative movement.