Civic virtues as moral facts

Unlike the French Revolutionaries, [the American Founders] did not repudiate Christianity or begin the world anew with some ideological “Year Zero” (neither 1776 nor 1787 became the first year in some new revolutionary calendar). The vast majority of the Founding generation remained religious believers and combined a belief in natural rights with deference to the natural moral law. For them, rights without duties were unthinkable, freedom without self-limitation unlivable. Such was the American consensus.