- Reviewed on Tuesday, February 23, 2010
- Grades Used: high school
- Dates used: 2010
This is wonderful reading for middle to high schoolers, depending on reading level. The previous review made me question myself on this but I realized that the Founders would quote philosophers and religion/scriptures in their writings and as a foundation for their works since that is what they tried to live. That was the standard for the morality and focus for them and gave them the strength to put together the most comprehensive governmental structure in history. And, since the last reviewer failed to mention it, foreign visitors and students of our Constitution and early leaders note the reliance on their faith in a Creator and the just and moral rewards or punishments that result from our behaviors. They bring to the surface that this is a major factor in the forming of our government. Sadly, these morals and standards our Founding Fathers held so dear are all but forgotten today. This book helps put them all back on the table and in the light.
Maybe some will misunderstand the ruling of the Supreme Court cases mentioned also. But in regards to the page 175 remark, I read the courts upheld the ruling and did not understand that to mean previous Supreme Court cases but lower courts. Maybe I just always over-analyze but that was my take.
Overall, this book was an excellent study in what we should know about our country, history, Founders, and what the liberty
and freedoms cost our countrymen. The writing was not ambiguous-common sense and morality never are.
- Reviewed on Friday, November 20, 2009
- Grades Used: NONE
- Dates used: 2009
This book should never be considered for use in homeschooling unless you want to teach your children improper, misleading, and dishonest research and writing skills.
I've read up through the end of the 2nd principle (p. 57). I've also look forward at sections dealing with welfare. Here is my assessment:
I'll start with welfare since it is more interesting and relevant to me as an attorney practicing in the area of Social Security disability. The author's analysis of welfare is quite flawed. Starting on p. 175 he talks about redistribution of wealth as being unconstitutional. As evidence for this he cites a US Supreme Court case from 1795. The selection he chose to quote would seem to support his point. The problem is that if you actually look up the case he cites, the author is obviously guilty of stripping all context from the quoted language. The case was actually about a provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution. It was dealt with by the US Supreme Court because it involved a land grant from the Indians to William Penn. Even if the case did stand for the proposition that welfare is unconstitutional, it would only be unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania Constitution, not the US Constitution. But even that is not a valid conclusion. The case dealt with taking real property without paying adequate compensation. It had nothing to do with welfare. These types of cases are analyzed under the "takings clause" of the US Constitution. Since the author is apparently a lawyer, I would have to assume that he was aware of this and simply elected to knowingly mislead people. He probably figured that nobody would take the time to look up the case he cited. When he wrote the book the Internet was not widely available. It is now, and you can read the case yourself right here: http://supreme.justia.com/us/2/304/case.html
To further his point, he also asserts that it was not until after 1936 that the Supreme Court began distorting the "general welfare" clause. However, he did not cite a single case where the US Supreme Court had held differently prior to this time. He did use the above mentioned case, but any reasoned reading of that case demonstrates that it does not stand for the proposition he says it does. I did not research the issue to look for US Supreme Court cases on welfare prior to 1936 because that could take a very long time. Since the author claims to have spent years researching this book, I would expect that if there were such cases, he would have cited them. Lawyers often use a string cite to show that there are many cases supporting their argument. Since the author did not, this is a pretty strong indication to me that there aren't any such case. To me, it isn't really that strange that the "general welfare" clause wasn't addressed by the US Supreme Court until 1936. After all, the US Supreme Court did not address whether the right to bear arms is an individual right until just last year.
Actually, I just went and look up the Butler case from 1936 that the author cites as the US Supreme Court's starting point for distorting the "general welfare" clause. You can read it too: http://supreme.justia.com/us/297/1/case.html The Court explicitly states that they had never before addressed the issue of the "general welfare" clause. The author is very misleading and even intellectually dishonest in asserting that they had previously held otherwise. In today's legal system, if the author were to submit a brief to any court with the kinds of citations he provides in this book, he would likely be held in contempt, sanctioned, and disbarred for violating his duty of candor to the tribunal. Of course, you can publish anything you want where there is no such duty to the public.
The introduction - p. 57 can be summed up as the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. The author is a very poor writer. The book is extremely difficult to read. It doesn't flow at all. The author makes statements but provides no evidence to back them up. For example, in dealing with principle #1, the author states that one of the Founders' favorite authors was Cicero. He offers nothing to support this assertion but then goes on to fill the chapter with block quotes from Cicero. There is a big gap in the author's analysis/logic. Alternatively, as explained above, he makes up or misrepresents evidence to support his positions.
With the numerous faults I have found in reading so little of this book, I can't possibly justify investing the time to finish the rest of it. I am sure that it is filled with many other errors, but the ones I have already found have so severely limited the author's credibility that I have no interest in reading any further. You can't believe everything you read, even if it is endorsed by Glenn Beck.
- Reviewed on Friday, December 5, 2008
- Grades Used: 9-12 grade
- Dates used: 2007-2008
I have loved both "The Making of America" and "The 5,000 Year Leap" as government and American history courses! The books are wonderful, insightful and fascinating. We also bought the dvd courses that go with the textbooks and both of my highschool boys enjoy watching the lecturer as well. We have learned so much, far more than any other government or American history textbook, with these books. I have several friends who have incorporated this program into their homeschool and they have thrown out everything else. This program is a complete highschool government or American history class. You can find out more about it at NCCS (National Center for Constitutional Studies) on the internet! You won't be sorry... this is one of the greatest learning experiences I've ever had personally as well.