In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen -- as "The Father of the Constitution" -- to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States. Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, Gutzman treats readers to the flesh-and-blood story of a man who often performed his founding deeds in spite of himself: Madison's fame rests on his participation in the writing of The Federalist Papers and his role in drafting the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Today, his contribution to those documents is largely misunderstood. He thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the Constitution, a document he found entirely inadequate and predicted would soon fail. Madison helped to create the first American political party, the first party to call itself "Republican", but only after he had argued that political parties, in general, were harmful. Madison served as Secretary of State and then as President during the early years of the United States and the War of 1812; however, the American foreign policy he implemented in 1801-1817 ultimately resulted in the British burning down the Capitol and the White House. In so many ways, the contradictions both in Madison's thinking and in the way he governed foreshadowed the conflicted state of our Union now. His greatest legacy—the disestablishment of Virginia's state church and adoption of the libertarian Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—is often omitted from discussion of his career. Yet, understanding the way in which Madison saw the relationship between the church and state is key to understanding the real man. Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America promises to become the standard biography of our fourth President.
"In this lively and clearly written book, Kevin Gutzman makes a compelling case for the broad range and radical ambitions of Thomas Jefferson's commitment to human equality." - Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winning author of American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804

Though remembered chiefly as author of the Declaration of Independence and the president under whom the Louisiana Purchase was effected, Thomas Jefferson was a true revolutionary in the way he thought about the size and reach of government, which Americans who were full citizens and the role of education in the new country. In his new book, Kevin Gutzman gives readers a new view of Jefferson—a revolutionary who effected radical change in a growing country.

Jefferson’s philosophy about the size and power of the federal system almost completely undergirded the Jeffersonian Republican Party. His forceful advocacy of religious freedom was not far behind, as were attempts to incorporate Native Americans into American society. His establishment of the University of Virginia might be one of the most important markers of the man’s abilities and character.

He was not without flaws. While he argued for the assimilation of Native Americans into society, he did not assume the same for Africans being held in slavery while—at the same time—insisting that slavery should cease to exist. Many still accuse Jefferson of hypocrisy on the ground that he both held that “all men are created equal” and held men as slaves. Jefferson’s true character, though, is more complex than that as Kevin Gutzman shows in his new book about Jefferson, a revolutionary whose accomplishments went far beyond the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

“Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
—Thomas Jefferson

The United States Constitution—the bedrock of our country, the foundation of our federal republic—is . . . dead.

You won’t hear that from the politicians who endlessly pay lip service to the Constitution. It’s the dirty little secret that bestselling authors Thomas E. Woods Jr. and Kevin R. C. Gutzman expose in this provocative new book. The fact is that government officials—Democrats and Republicans, presidents, judges, and congresses alike—long ago rejected the idea that the Constitution possesses a fixed meaning limiting the U.S. government’s power.

In case you’ve forgotten, this idea was not a minor aspect of the Constitution; it was the document’s very purpose.

Woods and Gutzman round up the suspects responsible for the death of the government the Founding Fathers designed. Going right to the scenes of the crimes, they dissect twelve of the most egregious assaults on the Constitution—some virtually unknown. In chronicling this “dirty dozen,” the authors show that the attacks began long before presidents declared preemptive wars, congresses built pork-barrel bridges to nowhere, and Supreme Court justices began to behave as our supreme legislators.

In Who Killed the Constitution? Woods and Gutzman

• REVEAL the federal government’s “great gold robbery”—the flagrant assault on the Constitution you never heard about in history class
• DESTROY the phony case for presidential war power
• EXPOSE how the federal government has actively discriminated to end . . . discrimination
• TEAR DOWN the “wall of separation” between church and state—an invention that completely contradicts what the Constitution says
• DARE to touch the “third rail of American jurisprudence,” Brown v. Board of Education—showing why a government decision that seems “right” isn’t necessarily constitutional

Never shying away from controversy, Woods and Gutzman reveal an unsettling but unavoidable truth: now that the federal government has broken free of the Constitution’s chains, government officials are restrained by little more than their sense of what they can get away with.

Who Killed the Constitution? is a rallying cry for Americans outraged by government run amok and a warning to take heed before we lose the liberties we are truly entitled to.
In James Madison and the Making of America, historian Kevin Gutzman looks beyond the way James Madison is traditionally seen-as "The Father of the Constitution"-to find a more complex and sometimes contradictory portrait of this influential Founding Father and the ways in which he influenced the spirit of today's United States. Instead of an idealized portrait of Madison, Gutzman treats listeners to the flesh-and-blood story of a man who often performed his founding deeds in spite of himself: Madison's fame rests on his participation in the writing of The Federalist Papers and his role in drafting the Bill of Rights and Constitution.Today, his contribution to those documents is largely misunderstood. Madison thought that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and insisted that it not be included in the Constitution, a document he found entirely inadequate and predicted would soon fail. He helped to create the first American political party, the first party to call itself "Republican", but only after he had argued that political parties, in general, were harmful. Madison served as Secretary of State and then as President during the early years of the United States and the War of 1812; however, the American foreign policy he implemented in 1801-1817 ultimately resulted in the British burning down the Capitol and the White House.In so many ways, the contradictions both in Madison's thinking and in the way he governed foreshadowed the conflicted state of our Union now. His greatest legacy-the disestablishment of Virginia's state church and adoption of the libertarian Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom-is often omitted from discussion of his career. Yet, understanding the way in which Madison saw the relationship between the church and state is key to understanding the real man. Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America promises to become the standard biography of our fourth President.
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