The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution

( 7 )

Overview

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 ofThe Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, finds the answers by going directly to the source—the ...

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The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution

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Overview

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 ofThe 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.

InThe 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.

Authoritative, fascinating, and timely,The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitutionis the definitive layman's guide to America's most important—and often most willfully misunderstood—historical document.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781470826567
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 7
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Brion McClanahan is author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers and holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of South Carolina. Born in Virginia, he attended high school in Delaware and received a B.A. in history from Salisbury University in Maryland. He lives with his wife and children near Phenix City, Alabama, just across the river from Columbus, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    A must read for those who are questioning today's contemporary interpretation of the Constitution. Regardless of your political persuasion it always helps to get back to the basics. Specifically, what was the intent of our founding fathers? If you believe that they were extremely forward thinking men who cared deeply for future generations then this is a reference that should help in bringing us back on track by practicing critical thought to applying the original intent of the Constitution to today's issues and questions.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    Think you know what the founders meant?

    I recently read 'The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution' and enjoyed it thoroughly. The author shines a welcome light on the men and ideas competing both at the Philadelphia convention and the state ratifying conventions, not to mention the wise words of Brutus, an Old Whig and others who were rightfully wary of giving too much power to the general government. I wish people were more familiar with these important exchanges (and somewhat less familiar with the Federalist Papers, which have been elevated to gospel status by the Supreme Court). Buy this book for yourself or give it as a gift to someone who thinks they know the "original intent" of the founders and framers. In light of the recent controversy surrounding the Obamacare decision in particular and the role of the court in general, this book and the ideas therein could not be more timely.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Very Good Primer

    Good starting place for the beginner. Prof Mc covers most of the basics while including his direct refereces. He misses on several important points which predate Marbury vs. Madison, such as how Constitutional questions were not reviewable by the couts, but were jury questions that were put directly to the jury via jury instructions!
    If you liked this and want more on govt, try "The Albany Plan Re-Visted", for social issues Thomas Sowell's "Intellectuals and Society", and for the advanced non-lawyer legal student Ed Meese's "Heritage Guide to the US Constitution".

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    Author Might Have an Agenda, Proceed With Caution...

    Upon reading Professor McClanahan's new volume, The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution, I left feeling a mixture of both genuine contentment as well as dissatisfaction. Going into the book, I had high hopes that the author would present a unique viewpoint on the Founder’s understanding of the Constitution; to my immediate dismay, I found myself browsing over a predictable thesis that most academics constantly regurgitate over-and-over again.
    Perhaps because I consider myself a history buff and political junkie, I found that after I’d read a few dozen pages on the Legislative branch that I could pretty much chart the rest of the book’s viewpoint on the Executive, Judiciary, etc.
    While in my opinion the reading is quite dry - the author simply drops quotes from sentence to sentence without framing them or providing much of an introduction – I still fervently applaud McClanahan for his diligent research and efforts to compound the various viewpoints from the founding era into a single, slim volume. But while the author provides the reader with a plethora of speakers, both renowned as well as obscure, it appears as though McClanahan selectively chooses certain quotations and arguments to fit what some critics may call out as an “agenda.” Although I won’t go as far as some on the left may egregiously claim, McClanahan does, in fact, espouse a consistently libertarian, Anti-Federalist viewpoint for understanding the “one” “true” intention of the founders. While there is certainly nothing wrong with re-discovering the beliefs of strict construction or interpreting the constitution literally, I warn future readers from believing that this political philosophy was the sole ideology that guided the founders when framing the constitution. As with any generation of leaders debating virtually any topic, the Founding Fathers surely were not monolithic in their beliefs; therefore when it appears that the author is embracing one form of thought over another/others, it’s best prescribed to take these arguments with only a grain of salt.
    McClanahan’s thesis on the founders’ understanding of republicanism and the constitution is by no means wrong, inaccurate, or perverted to meet a hidden agenda. It is well cited and provides a great variety of sources, as opposed to just the Philadelphia Convention or the Federalist Papers for support. It just appears to me - from my previous readings on the founders and my understanding of this period – that this book, whether intentionally or not, leaves out several other credible viewpoints on constitutionalism and how the United States ought to be governed.

    **Sidenote**: Although I’ve chosen to rate this book 3 out of a 5 star scale, if given more precision, I probably would have awarded McClanahan’s work a 3.5 or 3.75.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2012

    What would our Founding Fathers think about the United States if

    What would our Founding Fathers think about the United States if they could see it now? To help answer this question the book quotes many of the Founders as they were debating the Constitution while it was going through ratification. I found it startling that many of the Founders who opposed certain sections of the Constitution did so for reasons that are evident today. The Founders were visionaries and many of their fears have been realized. A couple examples include the staggering amount of debt that the U.S. has encumbered and the use of presidential executive orders.

    I have read the U.S. Constitution, but wanted to get a deeper understanding of what the Founders had envisioned for the country as they were writing and debating it. The book met my expectations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    **

    I can,t help but say , I am not the most political person to read this book ! I do however love my Country ! Hence the reason to purchase this book ! It is suppose to be a laymans guide to the constitution !! I find that it is just as vauge in most respects to the constitution ,& even mysterious in some places ! I imagine if you spent a great deal of time Delving into the constitution , you might greatly understand what this book is trying to explain ! I on the other end , have not spent that much time ( do to noones fault but my own ) exploring the constitution & therefor have to say it,s a little bit confusing !

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution was a good primer

    The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution was a good primer for people who don't understand the constitution very well. Brion McClanahan tells to many side stories of the founding fathers. He should have been more direct on his arguments.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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