No, The American Founders Were Not Libertarians
Libertarians are still trying to claim the American Founding as theirs. One occasionally hears the argument that the principles of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are libertarian. One of the most recent instances of this claim resides in Nikolai Wenzel’s first-rate defense of libertarianism in “Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives?” (Stanford: 2017). Yet a closer look at the Founders’ thought about government makes clear that it was anything but libertarian.
A close look at the Founders’ thought shows their political philosophy that culminated in the Constitution was anything but what libertarians espouse.