The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution


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Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks. Genre: History.

What does the Constitution really mean? How did the founding generation intend for us to interpret and apply the Constitution? Are liberals right when they cite its "elastic" clauses to justify big government, or are conservatives right when they cite its explicit limits on federal power? Professor Brion McClanahan, popular author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, finds the answers by going directly to the source-the Founders themselves, who debated all the relevant issues in their state constitutional conventions.

In The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution, you'll discover how the Constitution was designed to protect rather than undermine the rights of states; why Congress, not the executive branch, was meant to be dominant and why the Founders would have argued for impeaching many modern presidents for violating the Constitution; why an expansive central government was the Founders' biggest fear, and how the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were designed to guard against it; why the founding generation would regard most of the current federal budget, including "stimulus packages," unconstitutional; why the Founding Fathers would oppose attempts to "reform" the Electoral College; why they would be horrified at the enormous authority of the Supreme Court; and why they intended Congress, not the Court, to interpret federal law.

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Authoritative, fascinating, and timely, The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution is the definitive layman's guide to America's most important-and often most willfully misunderstood-historical document. Yet, in The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution, Brion McClanahan gives us a clear, clause-by-clause explanation of the original understanding of the Constitution.

ISBN 13: 9781606712986

Constitutional government is possible, if only officials would be true to their oaths. World War II is nearly over in Europe but is escalating in the Pacific, where American soldiers face an opponent who will go In this stirring audiobook, 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 whi Inspiration for a major motion picture by Mark Wahlberg. How this can be done, but isn't, is an interesting part of the book. As an elected official state senator I carry a copy of this book with me at all times.

I have highlighted and annotated notes from the sources which McClanahan uses. All of the sources should be read as well. Instead of using the source documents to establish intent, lawyers and judges, use case law to determine intent. This leads to incorrect rulings which are compounded by more incorrect rulings based on the previous incorrect ruling.

A search of the "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in " clearly shows what the intended meaning of terms like "General Welfare," and "Supremacy Clause," were then and still are today although our system doesn't follow the intent of the Constitution. I recommend this book as a "must read. Guaranteed you will be better able to understand contemporary issues and a stronger voter after you have read this book. Feb 23, Brendan rated it liked it.

A conservative statement on the Constitution as a non-living document. McClanahan thoroughly researches the Founders' writings to each other surrounding the adoption of the US Constitution. Madison writing to Jefferson?

Fascinating stuff, really. McClanahan attempts to educate the reader in 'what the Founders intended. It's analogous to reading a A conservative statement on the Constitution as a non-living document. It's analogous to reading an author's book, then going backward to read the author's letters to her mom. The letters do bring context, but what's published has to stand on its own. McClanahan ignores the reality that writing and decision-making are grey. Even greyer.

In declaring modern policies as erroneous, McClanahan often uses the phrase 'does not follow the Constitution as ratified. This is great reading for preparing one's own counterpoint. McClanahan goes into great detail on state law vs national law, national vs federal, federal vs the judiciary. Was the judiciary not intended to interpret law? Was the executive meant to be an enforcer, not a figurehead? Read this book for a good look at McClanahan's opinion, then form your own.


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Americans do not need judges, lawyers, politicians, or ivory tower academics descending to provide answers to our constitutional questions. The founding fathers have already done that for us Jul 28, Robert rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history. Historian Kevin Gutzman calls his book the best single volume history of the Founders view on the Constitution. I heartily agree. McClanahan purposefully walks through the document, the original definitions, and the arguments that stemmed from the ratification conventions dealing with the Constitution.

One incredible plus is the first appendix located in the back of the book. They are a collection of founders's quotes regarding various constitutional subjects. Apr 08, Dan Coats rated it really liked it Shelves: history , politics. I wish the book were a bit punchier, but the information contained within it is solid. What exactly was ratified in ? What did the people promoting it and debating it say about various clauses? This book does a good job of getting to original authorial intent. Nov 24, Matthew rated it really liked it. How did the Founding Fathers intend for us to interpret the Constitution?

A great question and one which this book ably addresses. Nov 03, Shamus Ewer rated it did not like it. Oct 16, Patrick S. Attempting to find a book on the Constitution is pretty easy and you can find the history with whatever spin or angle you want. But attempting to find a book on the Ratification debates of the Constitution using primary sources is pretty much impossible.

The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution (Other)

This is one of two main books I know that are commonly available. The fact that Dr. McClanahan is the author just adds the sugar on top. McClanahan is fastly becoming one of my favorite historians. His perspective is a call back to the primar Attempting to find a book on the Constitution is pretty easy and you can find the history with whatever spin or angle you want. His perspective is a call back to the primary understanding on the Constitution and the power that lies within it is derived from the states.

How does he get that understanding? By looking at the state ratification talks to show that the Constitution wasn't just passed by a federal, central government but was given power by the states and then the people. To read this book should have a warning label on it. Because what we see today in all three branches and at the federal, state, and local levels is not even close to what was intended and was, frighteningly, what was talked about in fear quote after fear quote of the ratifiers. It's sad when Rhode Island comes out as being on the right side of history.

This books looks at all three branches of the federal government with respect to their enumerated powers and responsibilities in the Constitution. Then a look at the breadth and scope of the amendments. Finally, a collection of useful quotes that add to the heaping of coals on our heads. While Dr. McClanahan does a great job of organizing the structure of the material, I found it helpful to have the Constitution open to the part being discussed as it was needed to quickly check to make sure the interpretation made sense or what was being argued about could be seen in certain ways.

Most books like to taut that "This is the X you didn't learn about in school.

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This is a fantastic book that gives primary source material to make its points. A very well done book and a great read too. Nov 08, John Martindale rated it it was amazing Shelves: audiobook , politics , history. This was an excellent book, showing the founders arguments in favor of the articles of constitution and the opponents fears, concerns and arguments against certain parts.

Because each part of the constitution had to be defended and shown not to compromise state sovereignty or give to much power to the Federal government, the meaning of even the most vague sections are pretty clearly hammered out. If this was not so, certain states NEVER would have ratified it, yet American history has shown Cong This was an excellent book, showing the founders arguments in favor of the articles of constitution and the opponents fears, concerns and arguments against certain parts.

If this was not so, certain states NEVER would have ratified it, yet American history has shown Congress, Judges and Presidents doing the very things that that the founders insisted never would be allowed. It is indeed painful to see what the Founders intended, considering the present state of things.

The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution (Other) | Books On First

It's horrible seeing judges legislating from the bench, presidents on the right and the left assuming powers which the constitution didn't give them, and how those who choose to ride rough trod on the constitution largely get away with it and often becomes heroes, Lincoln, Theodore, Wilson and FDR come to mind. Considering some of the horrific things Federalist John Marshall and Hamilton did so soon after the ratification of the constitution, fulfilling some of the prophesies of anti-federalist like Patrick Henry, one is tempted to think that some of the more vague clauses in the Constitution were intentionally put there, to leave a small crack in the door.

So Federalist after getting the people to consent, by subduing their fears and promises goodwill, could then come and swing the door open and claim more central power and the destroy state rights that they promised to protect. One has to hope that this is not the case. Jun 03, Manny rated it it was amazing. Plus 5 more This is one of those "must read" books.

The books discusses the "original intent" of the founding fathers that ratified the Constitution. The book is well written and flows very smoothly. The books goes through the various sections of the Constitution and discusses the views of the proponents as well as those opposed. The book has quotes but also ties it into today's interpretation. This book is very educational and you will glean much needed information from it.

The scary part ab Plus 5 more The scary part about this book is to see the leviathan that we have in D. I recommend this book to anyone interested in what the "Central" government can, and most importantly CAN'T do. It discusses what the President's job description is, rather, should be as well as the congress and senate's.

It also solidified my belief that one of the worst things ever done is the 17th Amendment. Short book chock-full information that is absolutely essential to our lives as Americans. Feb 11, Dale rated it liked it. Great as a resource but Published in by Regnery History pages of text, 63 pages of appendices, end notes and an index.


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  • I am torn when it comes to this book, which is the reason for the three star review.

    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution
    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution

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