The best book I have ever read on the Constitution and the principles America was founded on.
From an Amazon review on the book:
"This is an incredible book that should be read by all Americans.
I first read this book back in the mid 1980s shortly after it was first published. It had such a profound effect on me that I can still recall where I was when I was reading it. That is rather amazing as I have I have probably read about 1600 books since then.
I was excited to see that it had recently been republished as my original copy is pretty ragged. It was great to reread it and brush up on the great ideas contained in it.
The premise of the book is that because of the free market system that took root after our Constitution was enacted, the United States literally made a 5000 year leap of progress in the time since then. The author, W. Cleon Skousen, discussed the changes from the time of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the early 1980s when the book was written. In discussing Jamestown, he said: "The most striking thing about the settlers of Jamestown was their startling similarity to the ancient pioneers who built settlements in other parts of the world 5,000 years earlier. The whole panorama of Jamestown demonstrated how shockingly little progress had been made by man during all of those fifty centuries."
He went on to say, "The settlers of Jamestown had come in a boat no larger and no more commodious than those of the ancient sea kings. Their tools still consisted of shovel, axe, hoe, and a stick plow which were only slightly improved over those of China, Egypt, Persia, and Greece. They harvested their grain and hay-grass with the same primitive scythes ..."
He then discussed the Constitution that was developed by the Founders. It took 180 years for them to put it all together from the beginning of Jamestown in 1607 to the enactment of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. He goes through the inspirations and sources for their thoughts in explaining how the U.S. Constitutional system came about.
Dr. Skousen contrasted the situation described in Jamestown above to the present day. He talks about the phenomenol results produced by the free enterprise system. Some of the incredible inventions and changes that he cites are as follows: the internal combustion engine, jet propulsion, exotic space travel, 'all the wonders of nuclear energy', massive changes in communications, the doubling of the life expectancy, central heating/air conditioning, surgical miracles, cures for numerous diseases, etc. Needless to say, the list could go on and on.
In showing how our system was designed, Skousen goes through 28 principles that the Founders developed from their study of sources such as Cicero, Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, and others. Skousen has done what most people don't have the time or inclination to do: Study the original source materials and bring it all together.
Obviously, it would be great if every American studied the sources listed above as well as The Federalist Papers, the writings of Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and others. Since that is unlikely, this is a great way to gain a good general understanding of the roots of our nation.
One great thing about this book is that the author discusses some of the problems that we have faced in recent years due to failing to follow the Constitution and the principles of the Founders. Some of these are issues like the mounting national debt, excessive taxation, and judicial activism.
Dr. Skousen also does a great job of explaining the political spectrum and the absurdities of the left-right labeling so often used in discourse today. He explains in an easy-to-understand manner that the far left and far right as the terms are used today are really the same thing, ruler's law, and are totally out of step with the way the system was intended.
One could easily go on about this book for a long time, but I will spare the reader that. Suffice it to say, this is an amazing book that should be read by all.
I would also highly recommend, "The Making Of America" The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution by the same author. Anyone who reads those two books will know more about the way our system was designed and supposed to work than 99% of all Americans including 'constitutional lawyers'. Buy this book."
EDIT: I just scrolled down and someone has already recommended this book. Sorry for the repeat!
“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien
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