Have you ever wondered what was really meant by one or more of the ten amendments?
Have you ever been unsure as to how these rights apply to modern society?
Have you even questioned if the Bill of Rights should still be held as inviolable law, nearly 250 years after its writing?
Here's the truth: the Bill of Rights is not easy to understand if you just pick it up and give it a read. The eloquent style in which it's written can be confusing. The language can cause misunderstandings. There's a lot of legal terminology that's beyond most of us. Without an understanding of the historical background of certain amendments, it's impossible to fully understand their importance and scope. And to top it all off, there are countless politicians and pundits that try to interpret our rights for us and tell us what the Founders meant.
But are you comfortable letting crooked politicians decide what your rights are? Or would you rather know and be able to insist on, with certainty, the freedoms our Founders intended for you, your family, your friends, and your fellow Americans? If you're like millions of other Americans, you'll choose the latter.
Thomas Jefferson said, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." He also said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was and never will be."
That's why this book was created, and it would make the Founders proud if they were here today. This book helps you easily reach a deep understanding of the Bill of Rights by walking you through each amendment, clarifying the precise definitions of key words; providing the historical context you need to fully grasp and spirit and importance of the amendments; sharing powerfully insightful quotes on each amendment, straight from the Founders and their peers; supplying you with an extensive glossary of terms so you never get lost in a dictionary or encyclopedia trying to understand what you're reading; and more.
The Founders fought tirelessly to guarantee you specific rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Don't let two-faced politicians and pundits tell you what your rights are.
Scroll up and click the "Buy" button now to learn your rights, and together, we can keep the spirit of freedom alive in this great nation.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.
In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”
Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.
Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.
“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review
Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017.
The Declaration of Independence was the promise of a representative government; the Constitution was the fulfillment of that promise.
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued a unanimous declaration: the thirteen North American colonies would be the thirteen United States of America, free and independent of Great Britain. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration set forth the terms of a new form of government with the following words: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Framed in 1787 and in effect since March 1789, the Constitution of the United States of America fulfilled the promise of the Declaration by establishing a republican form of government with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, became part of the Constitution on December 15, 1791. Among the rights guaranteed by these amendments are freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to trial by jury. Written so that it could be adapted to endure for years to come, the Constitution has been amended only seventeen times since 1791 and has lasted longer than any other written form of government.
From the Paperback edition.
Published anonymously in 1776, this landmark political pamphlet spread across the colonies more rapidly than any document of its kind ever had before. Its words were read aloud in town squares, its pages affixed to tavern walls. Both a clear-eyed, plainly stated case for separation from Great Britain and a stirring call to action, Common Sense sparked the imagination of a fledgling nation and played a decisive role in the march toward revolution. Thomas Paine’s masterpiece is crucial reading for any student of American history.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
Originally published anonymously, The Federalist Papers first appeared in 1787 as a series of letters to New York newspapers exhorting voters to ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States. Still hotly debated, and open to often controversial interpretations, the arguments first presented here by three of America’s greatest patriots and political theorists were created during a critical moment in our nation’s history, providing readers with a running ideological commentary on the crucial issues facing a democracy.
Today The Federalist Papers are as important and vital a rallying cry for freedom as ever. This edition features the original eighteenth-century text, with James Madison’s fascinating marginal notations, as well as a complete text of the Constitution.
In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.
Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough’s 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.
In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as “out of his senses”; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.
This is history on a grand scale—a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
“This is my kind of history book. Get ready. Here’s the action.” —BRAD MELTZER, bestselling author of The Fifth Assassin and host of Decoded
When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York.
Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have offered fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman. Long unrecognized, the secret six are finally receiving their due among the pantheon of American heroes.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this book, we learn how the Founding Fathers discovered this success formula. Much of this discovery is told in the words of the Founders themselves, so that the reader can feel the power of their minds sweeping away thousands of years of bad government and illogical laws to formulate a whole new society based on human freedom.
By returning to the roots of the Founders’ thinking, and contemplating the logic that they used in establishing the Constitution, we can better understand the challenges and solutions that confront us in today’s political world.
This eBook includes the original index, illustrations, footnotes, table of contents and page numbering from the printed format.
More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid and not based on any universally shared heritage, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In The Idea of America, Wood reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the revolution remains so essential.
In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. As Wood reveals, while the founders hoped to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and uninterested leaders, they instead gave birth to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic popular democracy.
Wood also traces the origins of American exceptionalism to this period, revealing how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth. The revolution gave Americans their messianic sense of purpose-and perhaps our continued propensity to promote democracy around the world-because the founders believed their colonial rebellion had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Yet what may seem like audacity in retrospect reflected the fact that in the eighteenth century republicanism was a truly radical ideology-as radical as Marxism would be in the nineteenth-and one that indeed inspired revolutionaries the world over.
Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between us and the founders, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible for us to appreciate how deeply the founders feared their grand experiment in liberty could evolve into monarchy or dissolve into licentiousness. Gracefully written and filled with insight, The Idea of America helps us to recapture the fears and hopes of the revolutionary generation and its attempts to translate those ideals into a working democracy.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.
From the Hardcover edition.
Revisiting all the original documents and using her deep knowledge of eighteenth-century history and politics, Carol Berkin takes a fresh look at the men who framed the Constitution, the issues they faced, and the times they lived in. Berkin transports the reader into the hearts and minds of the founders, exposing their fears and their limited expectations
We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius.
Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president.
From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans.
We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election.
Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.
In The Tempting of America, one of our most distinguished legal minds offers a brilliant argument for the wisdom and necessity of interpreting the Constitution according to the “original understanding” of the Framers and the people for whom it was written.
Widely hailed as the most important critique of the nation’s intellectual climate since The Closing of the American Mind, The Tempting of America illuminates the history of the Supreme Court and the underlying meaning of constitutional controversy. Essential to understanding the relationship between values and the law, it concludes with a personal account of Judge Bork’s chillingly emblematic experiences during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his Supreme Court nomination.
An authoritative analysis of the Constitution of the United States and an enduring classic of political philosophy.
Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers explain the complexities of a constitutional government—its political structure and principles based on the inherent rights of man. Scholars have long regarded this work as a milestone in political science and a classic of American political theory.
Based on the original McLean edition of 1788 and edited by noted historian Clinton Rossiter, this special edition includes:
● Textual notes and a select bibliography by Charles R. Kesler
● Table of contents with a brief précis of each essay
● Appendix with a copy of the Constitution cross-referenced to The Federalist Papers
● Index of Ideas that lists the major political concepts discussed
● Copies of The Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation
Since 2005, A Patriot's History of the United States has become a modern classic for its defense of America as a unique country founded on principles of justice, equality, and freedom for all.
The Patriot's History Reader continues this tradition by going back to the original sources-the documents, speeches, and legal decisions that shaped our country into what it is today.
The authors explore both oft-cited documents-the Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation, and Roe v. Wade--as well as those that are less famous. Among these are George Washington's letter to Alexander Hamilton, which essentially outline America's military strategy for the next 150 years, and Herbert Hoover's speech on business ethics, which examines the government's role in regulating private enterprise.
By helping readers explore history at its source, this book sheds new light on the principles and personalities that have made America great.
Known across the country for his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Professor Richard Beeman is one of the nation's foremost experts on the United States Constitution. In this book, he has produced what every American should have: a compact, fully annotated copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and amendments, all in their entirety. A marvel of accessibility and erudition, the guide also features a history of the making of the Constitution with excerpts from The Federalist Papers and a look at crucial Supreme Court cases that reminds us that the meaning of many of the specific provisions of the Constitution has changed over time.
"Excellent . . . valuable and judicious." -Jill Lepore, The New Yorker
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"A devastating indictment of our current system of justice." — Milton Friedman
In this provocative book, Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton show how the law, which once shielded us from the government, has now become a powerful weapon in the hands of overzealous prosecutors and bureaucrats. Lost is the foundation upon which our freedom rest—the intricate framework of Constitutional limits that protect our property, our liberty, and our lives. Roberts and Stratton convincingly argue that this abuse of government power doesn't have ideological boundaries. Indeed, conservatives and liberals alike use prosecutors, regulators, and courts to chase after their own favorite "devils," to seek punishment over justice and expediency over freedom. The authors present harrowing accounts of people both rich and poor, of CEOs and blue-collar workers who have fallen victim to the tyranny of good intentions, who have lost possessions, careers, loved ones, and sometimes even their lives.
This book is a sobering wake-up call to reclaim that which is rightly ours—liberty protected by the rule of law.
From the Hardcover edition.
This is the book you want to keep with you at all times: the full text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the two documents that are the backbone of United States government. Reading them as they were written is a must for every American. Regular reading is required for any historian or member of the legal profession, and a good idea for all Americans.
Acclaimed Constitutional scholar Paul Skousen, author of How to Read the Constitution, frames this simple text with a brief preface and a summary of important facts about these two documents, including important dates, for the ultimate quick reference. Throughout the text of the Constitution, he provides a clear guide to parts that became invalid due to later amendments, making the current meaning clear. Without intruding on the meaning, Skousen gives you a great tool for understanding our most basic principles of good government. An inspiring introduction by New York Times best-selling author Dan Clark will put you in the right frame of mind to read and appreciate these great documents.
This handy guide can become your best friend, and you'll want to keep a copy nearby. Fortunately, this little book will easily fit into your pocket or briefcase, top desk drawer, or iPad case. You'll may find you want to have extra copies around to hand out, too. Here is your chance to become an expert on two of the most important documents that shaped our country!
In this fully revised second edition, leading scholars in law, history, and public policy offer more than two hundred updated and incisive essays on every clause of the Constitution.
From the stirring words of the Preamble to the Twenty-seventh Amendment, you will gain new insights into the ideas that made America, important debates that continue from our Founding, and the Constitution's true meaning for our nation.
"An elegantly written account of leadership at the most pivotal moment in American history" (Philadelphia Inquirer): Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson reveals how George Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president.
After leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington shocked the world: he retired. In December 1783, General Washington, the most powerful man in the country, stepped down as Commander in Chief and returned to private life at Mount Vernon. Yet as Washington contentedly grew his estate, the fledgling American experiment floundered. Under the Articles of Confederation, the weak central government was unable to raise revenue to pay its debts or reach a consensus on national policy. The states bickered and grew apart. When a Constitutional Convention was established to address these problems, its chances of success were slim. Jefferson, Madison, and the other Founding Fathers realized that only one man could unite the fractious states: George Washington. Reluctant, but duty-bound, Washington rode to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to preside over the Convention.
Although Washington is often overlooked in most accounts of the period, this masterful new history from Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward J. Larson brilliantly uncovers Washington’s vital role in shaping the Convention—and shows how it was only with Washington’s support and his willingness to serve as President that the states were brought together and ratified the Constitution, thereby saving the country.
In a new afterword, Levinson looks at the deepening of constitutional worship and attributes the current widespread frustrations with the government to the static nature of the Constitution.
The Constitution which went into effect in 1787 then embodied a small, rural Republic of but 13 States located along the eastern seaboard of present day United States. The population of the Union was only 4 million. However it carried slight weight in international affairs. During the following span of time, the Union has grown into an urbanized, industrial country of 50 States extending as far westward as Alaska and Hawaii. The population now exceeds 215 million, and the Nation ranks as a leading global super power.
Along side the growth and power of the United has been a remarkable increase in the scope and influence of the Presidency over the years especially in the 20th and 21st centuries.
To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions.
Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. We see the general who lost more battles than he won and the reluctant president who tried to float above the partisan feuding of his cabinet. His Excellency is a magnificent work, indispensable to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Though admittedly a valuable and able study, Rawle's View of the Constitution stirred up controversy. Rawle himself was a Federalist, but his studies in government had led him to the judgment that the Union was not irrevocable. His final chapter on "The Union" includes a detailed statement that the right of secession was necessary to the fundamental right of a people to choose their own form of government. (. . .) In several ways, Rawle may be considered as providing the transitional step between the North and the South. His View was published midway between the inauguration of the Federal Government and the outbreak of the War Between the States." --Elizabeth Kelley Bauer, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1790-1860 63).
WILLIAM RAWLE [1759-1836] was a pillar of Pennsylvania's legal establishment and a highly regarded attorney and educator. In 1791 President George Washington appointed him the U.S. district attorney for Pennsylvania. In 1830 Rawle helped revise the civil code of Pennsylvania.
An introduction by Ian Shapiro offers an overview of the publication of the Federalist Papers and their importance. In three additional essays, John Dunn explores the composition of the Federalist Papers and the conflicting agendas of its authors; Eileen Hunt Botting explains how early advocates of women’s rights, most prominently Mercy Otis Warren, Judith Sargent Murray, and Charles Brockden Brown, responded to the Federalist-Antifederalist debates; and Donald Horowitz discusses the Federalist Papers from the perspective of recent experiments with democracy and constitution-making around the world. These essays both illuminate the original texts and encourage active engagement with them.
With The Second Amendment Primer, Les Adams finally provides an accessible discussion of the Second Amendment. It is a “primer” because it is elementary. Chronologically arranged, it traces the development of the right to keep and bear arms from its birth in ancient Greece to its addition in the U.S. Constitution. Supplemental essays discuss the Second Amendment’s interpretation in today’s world from the viewpoints of both firearms enthusiasts as well as those who would limit the amendment’s purview.
Although The Second Amendment Primer is aimed at the average reader, Adams’s facts are detailed and well-documented. Reference margin notes, an extensive bibliography, and a comprehensive subject index showcase the author’s research and show more curious readers how to continue on their path to understanding exactly what the Second Amendment is saying. Using this “citizen’s guide” as a stepping stone, anyone can become a successful scholar of the right to bear arms.
The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers—re-examined here as Founding Brothers—combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes—Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence—Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.
While no Anti-Federalist party emerged after ratification, Anti-Federalism continued to help define the limits of legitimate dissent within the American constitutional tradition for decades. Anti-Federalist ideas also exerted an important influence on Jeffersonianism and Jacksonianism. Exploring the full range of Anti-Federalist thought, Cornell illustrates its continuing relevance in the politics of the early Republic.
A new look at the Anti-Federalists is particularly timely given the recent revival of interest in this once neglected group, notes Cornell. Now widely reprinted, Anti-Federalist writings are increasingly quoted by legal scholars and cited in Supreme Court decisions--clear proof that their authors are now counted among the ranks of America's founders.
In the years since their creation, the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1789) have come to be recognized as two of history’s most significant political documents. Yet, while they affect our everyday lives, too few of us are familiar with what they say.
In this revised and updated edition, readers will find complete explanations of every section of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—its Preamble, main body, and amendments—so that readers may fully understand what they meant to our forefathers and what they mean to us today.
"May be one of the greatest what-if books of the age—a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head.”
"Clear and insightful, it consolidates his reputation as one of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction."
—Wall Street Journal
In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within.
Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.
Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Many people have wondered why I’ve been speaking out on controversial issues for the last few years. They say I’ve never held political office. I’m not a constitutional scholar. I’m not even a lawyer. All I can say to that is “Guilty as charged.”
It’s true that I’ve never voted for a budget America could not afford. I’ve never raised anyone’s taxes. And I’ve never promised a lobbyist anything in exchange for a donation.
Luckily, none of that really matters. Our founding fathers didn’t want a permanent governing class of professional politicians. They wanted a republic, in Lincoln’s words, "of the people, by the people, and for the people." A country where any farmer, small-business owner, manual laborer, or doctor could speak up and make a difference.
I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the U.S. Constitution. And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn’t brain surgery.
The founders wrote it for ordinary men and women, in clear, precise, simple language. They intentionally made it short enough to read in a single sitting and to carry in your pocket.
I wrote this book to encourage every citizen to read and think about the Constitution, and to help defend it from those who misinterpret and undermine it. In our age of political correctness it’s especially important to defend the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our freedom to speak, bear arms, practice our religion, and much more.
The Constitution isn’t history—it’s about your life in America today. And defending it is about what kind of country our children and grandchildren will inherit.
I hope you’ll enjoy learning about the fascinating ways that the founders established the greatest democracy in history—and the ways that recent presidents, congresses, and courts have threatened that democracy.
As the Preamble says, the purpose of the Constitution is to create a more perfect union. My goal is to empower you to help protect that union and secure the blessings of liberty.
“An elegant synthesis done by the leading scholar in the field, which nicely integrates the work on the American Revolution over the last three decades but never loses contact with the older, classic questions that we have been arguing about for over two hundred years.”—Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers
A magnificent account of the revolution in arms and consciousness that gave birth to the American republic.
When Abraham Lincoln sought to define the significance of the United States, he naturally looked back to the American Revolution. He knew that the Revolution not only had legally created the United States, but also had produced all of the great hopes and values of the American people. Our noblest ideals and aspirations-our commitments to freedom, constitutionalism, the well-being of ordinary people, and equality-came out of the Revolutionary era. Lincoln saw as well that the Revolution had convinced Americans that they were a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty. The Revolution, in short, gave birth to whatever sense of nationhood and national purpose Americans have had.
No doubt the story is a dramatic one: Thirteen insignificant colonies three thousand miles from the centers of Western civilization fought off British rule to become, in fewer than three decades, a huge, sprawling, rambunctious republic of nearly four million citizens. But the history of the American Revolution, like the history of the nation as a whole, ought not to be viewed simply as a story of right and wrong from which moral lessons are to be drawn. It is a complicated and at times ironic story that needs to be explained and understood, not blindly celebrated or condemned. How did this great revolution come about? What was its character? What were its consequences? These are the questions this short history seeks to answer. That it succeeds in such a profound and enthralling way is a tribute to Gordon Wood’s mastery of his subject, and of the historian’s craft.
From the Hardcover edition.
More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans.
The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet.
Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically.
As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars.
In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.
From the Hardcover edition.