We’ve heard much debate in recent days about campaign finance limits — thanks to a bill moving through the General Assembly and a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Vermont case.

That’s why I appreciated reading the following passage in A Patriot’s History of the United States (Sentinel, 2004):

“Free speech” meant the right to address publicly the shortcomings of government. … By the twenty-first century, legislators would become so concerned about the impact of money on financing political advertisements that they would attempt to regulate it. But the founders’ intentions were clear: the right to speak out against government (including financing of pamphlets, broadsides, or other forms of “advertising”) was the single most important right they addressed, aside from possession of firearms.

On the same page, authors Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen explain the founders’ justification for limited government.

Constraint, constraint, constraint — that was the overriding obsession of the Founders. [They] recognized that while government was necessary to protect life, liberty, and property, the people who comprised the government inevitably tried to accumulate and abuse power unless properly checked by fundamental law.

Larry Schweikart will join the John Locke Foundation Thursday in Wilmington — to discuss his latest book. It covers American war history.