The purpose of this research is to examine the roots of American political culture. The plan of the research will be to set forth a foundational review of the American political system and then to discuss the role of values that are held to be either uniquely or originally American, as well as how such values were elaborated over the course of the evolution of the American political system in the first century after the founding generation, with a view toward assessing the resilience and stability of the values informing the American system of governance.
What must be understood first of all about American political values as far as the founding of the country is concerned is that they were articulated on the record, by educated and literate political actors whose understanding of political processes had been informed by Western political history. That explains the "documentary" provenance of the US political institutions, notably configured in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Underpinning the Constitution is another document, or more exactly set of documents, bearing the title The Federalist Papers.
As Kesler points out in his introduction to The Federalist Papers (1999, p. xii-xiii), when the newly sovereign United States of America found that the Articles of Confederation, the first formula for American national government, could not effectively achieve the goals of nationhood, a constitutional convention was called that was designed to examine the form of government itself. The resulting Constitution, of course, caused a great deal of debate over the ratification among the states. In a series of individual papers, or bulletins, circulated throughout a cross section of the young United States, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay set forth the principles of the new republic so that the public would seek to approve the Constitution as the basis law of the land.