The Founders' Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It

( 16 )

Overview

Today the integrity and unity of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are under attack by the Progressive political movement. And yet, writes Larry P. Arnn:

“The words of the Declaration of Independence ring across the ages. The arrangements of the Constitution have a way of organizing our actions so as to produce certain desirable results, and they have done this more reliably than any governing instrument in the history of man. Connect these arrangements to the beauty of the Declaration and one ...

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The Founders' Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It

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Overview

Today the integrity and unity of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are under attack by the Progressive political movement. And yet, writes Larry P. Arnn:

“The words of the Declaration of Independence ring across the ages. The arrangements of the Constitution have a way of organizing our actions so as to produce certain desirable results, and they have done this more reliably than any governing instrument in the history of man. Connect these arrangements to the beauty of the Declaration and one has something inspiring and commanding.”

From Chapter 2,The Founders’ Key

Dr. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, reveals this integral unity of the Declaration and the Constitution. Together, they form the pillars upon which the liberties and rights of the American people stand. United, they have guided history’s first self-governing nation, forming our government under certain universal and eternal principles. Unfortunately, the effort to redefine government to reflect “the changing and growing social order” has gone very far toward success. Politicians such as Franklin Roosevelt found ways to condemn and discard the Constitution and to redefine the Declaration to justify government without limit. As a result, both documents have been weakened, their influence diminished, and their meaning obscured—paving the way for the modern administrative state, unaccountable to the will of the people.

The Founders’ Keyis a powerful call to rediscover the connection between these two mighty documents, and thereby restore our political faith and revive our free institutions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595555762
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 211,177
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry P. Arnn is the president of Hillsdale College. He received his BA from Arkansas State University, and his MA and PhD in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. Dr. Arnn has been published widely in newspapers and magazines on issues of public policy, history, and political theory, and he is the author of Liberty and Learning and The Founders' Key. He and his wife, Penelope, have four children.

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Read an Excerpt

The Founders' Key

The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It
By Larry P. Arnn

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Larry P. Arnn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-473-4


Chapter One

Eternal, Yet New

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. —John Adams writing to his wife on July 3, 1776, the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress

IT IS NOT SO COMMON FOR NATIONS TO HAVE BIRTHDAYS. What is the birthday of England, for example? When did there begin to be a France or a China or an India? Old and wonderful places, their beginnings are lost in the mists of time. What they are today is connected to their past in ways we can hardly guess.

In the United States we have a birthday, the Fourth of July. This birthday is unusual simply for the fact of its existence, but also for another reason. On the one hand, it is a specific day, marked in memory of specific things done by specific people in a specific place. On the other hand, it is a day for the ages and for everywhere. What these people did, they did in the name of something universal and transcendent. In the combination of these two qualities, our birthday is unprecedented.

The story of our great nation has unfolded under the influence of this combination. Our great controversies and struggles have hinged on our allegiance to it. Our survival has sometimes hung by a thread of attachment to it. It does so right now. Our form of government, I will argue, was established in our Constitution to institute and to guard this combination.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are commanding things for Americans because of this combination of features. On the one hand, they are ours, made by our own fathers. They provided the pattern according to which we have settled a continent and become a great nation, significant to all peoples. Our children, like our fathers and mothers, learn (even if not well) of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as they grow up. The way we talk, the way we stand, the way we dance or sing—all are influenced by the laws of our land and the principles behind them, and our laws and principles spring from these two documents.

On the other hand, the document adopted on our birthday speaks with a voice far beyond our fathers and their particular situation, even though that situation was urgent to the point of life and death. Its language is so elevated that its meaning cannot be confined to the situation of its own time and place, to the situation of our own time and place, or to the situation of any time and place. This at least is what it says. If it is wrong about this, then it is wrong about the most important thing.

This universal feature of our birthday reinforces the strength of its calling. If your father gives you an instruction from your upbringing, and then he repeats that instruction in his will, this is powerful. If he himself has risked all that he has to sustain this instruction, and if he has lived his entire life in support of it, this is more powerful. If in addition this instruction claims that it is the right instruction, not just for his life and for yours, but for all lives and for all time, that is most powerful. And yet you cannot base your allegiance to the principle solely on the testimony of your ancestors. You must base your allegiance on the merits of the claim. You must adopt it because it seems sensible, and if it does not, you must discard it—and with it your birthright.

This is the nature of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution written pursuant to it. They are our birthright. We Americans owe them a debt. They make a series of demanding claims. Although they leave plenty of room for adaptation to transient things, their core meaning is said to be absolute and fixed. To believe them is to take on the obligation to obey them, and then one must live in a certain way.

One can see how we might come to resent this burden. It is heavy. Its obligations come from more than one source, and therefore they command in more than one way. They command by blood, and they command by principle. They command with the authority of family, and they speak with the awesome force of nature and the God who presides over it. Who would blame us to ask why we should be trapped in this way? Our fathers were revolutionaries. Should we not be the same?

Moreover, we have made so very much progress from the time of the Revolution, from the time of the horse and buggy and the powdered wig. We face new challenges, but also we have all the new tools of modern science. Could we not come up with better principles than our fathers, just as we can now build taller and more momentous structures?

* * *

In relation to our beginning, our history has moved in two modes. Sometimes we have endeavored to embrace—and sometimes we have endeavored to escape—the laws of nature and of nature's God. They have been the source of our liberation, and they have seemed the source of our confining. Sometimes we would enjoy their blessings, but other times we would shrug them off as a curse.

Many of us today reject the universal and timeless claims of the Declaration, and therefore also we reject the forms of government established in the Constitution. We follow the notion, born among academics, that no such claim can be true and no such forms can abide. This belief is very strong among Americans now, and it has made vast achievements in changing our government. Because of this, we are near a moment of choice. This book aims to make clear the terms of that choice. The reader will not be surprised to learn that the author favors the keeping of the birthright, for its beauty and consistency, and for the failings of the alternative. Admitting this sharpens the obligation both of reader and of author to think as clearly, as truthfully, and as fairly as can be. We must do our best.

This book will explore the connection between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It will state the case for them made by those who wrote and adopted them. It will compare this case to the one made by their contemporary enemies. These are the points that we must consider before we make the choice that is fast upon us.

Chapter Two

Divide and Conquer

ON OCTOBER 22, 2009, A REPORTER ASKED SPEAKER OF THE House Nancy Pelosi, "Where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" She replied, "Are you serious? Are you serious?"

Just a few months later, on March 21, 2010, the House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which establishes that individual mandate in law. An hour before the vote, Speaker Pelosi spoke "with great pride and great humility." She said that by passing the act, the House would "honor the vows of our Founders, who, in the Declaration of Independence, said that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

It seems that Speaker Pelosi likes one of the two great pillars of our Founding, but not the other. The Declaration is a thing to be honored with pride and humility, but only by means that have no reference to the Constitution. The two great documents are disconnected in her mind. They are the two sides of a house divided, straining to pull it apart.

Nor is her reverence for the Declaration quite what it seems. No one who wrote that document defined the term right to mean free health care or to justify a law requiring all with money to purchase medical insurance so that those with none may have it for free. Just as the Speaker abandons the Constitution, so she alters the meaning of the Declaration. Nor is she alone. She stands in a long line of statesmen and academics who regard both documents in a very different light from those who wrote them. We Americans have today very mixed views about the meaning and merit of our major Founding documents. We may like the one or the other, but few of us are devoted to them both in the sense in which they are written.

Consider the Declaration. Nearly anyone has to admit that there is something to be said for it. Universal in scope and divine in elevation, it is written in tones of majesty. It celebrates blessings that come directly from God and are known through the reason with which He created us. It proclaims the inclusion of every human being—past, present, and future—in its reach. No nation is left out. No era is excluded. People in the streets of Cairo or Havana, protesting the modern military despots who rule over them, may call upon it for justification. The Hungarians of 1956, crushed by Soviet tanks, uttered its phrases with their last gasps of freedom. The helots under the Spartan lash, the slave-rowers squandering their substance in the Roman galleys, are wrapped in its embracing principles.

On the other hand, there seems to be something implausible and restricting about the Declaration. Its chief author, Thomas Jefferson, might have sided in principle with the helot slaves, but in practice he was a slaveholder like their Spartan masters. And why should he not be a slaveholder, some think, as he was founding a regime that vaunts self-interest and worships in the church of taking care of oneself? That is the trouble with America, according to this view: its people thrive too much at the expense of their neighbors. Is their Founding even good? And who are these Founders, anyway, to lecture us about right and wrong? Who are they to say that there is one truth for every age and time, one set of principles to command us today? We live in an age so modern as to make their quill pens and their bowing absurd. These absolute phrases seemed liberating then but seem constraining today. We have done so much more than those men in their powdered wigs. Why should they tell us the rules under which we must live?

These sentiments go back as far as the time before the Civil War and continue to the present day. The proslavery statesman John Calhoun, offended by its proclamation of equality, called the Declaration "the most false and dangerous of all political errors." Modern thinkers believe it—for all its pretensions of eternal scope—not to transcend but to reflect the time in which it was written. Woodrow Wilson said that it was obsolete, written for an age that believed in the theories of Isaac Newton and regarded government as a mechanism. That age, Wilson believed, was now superseded by Darwin and the theory of evolution, which allows us to see that government is a living organism, one that must change over time. Colonel House, a close advisor to Wilson, wrote a novel in which the hero says, "Our Constitution and our laws served us well for the first hundred years of our existence, but under the condition of today they are not only obsolete, but even grotesque." For John Dewey, the Constitution's view of liberty was "relative to the forces that at a given time and place are increasingly felt to be oppressive." For Frank Goodnow, founder of the American Political Science Association, its claims were the "result of the then existing social conditions."

This means that the perspective of the Founders is worse, in an important respect, than the typical relic of the past. The Spartan masters could justify their tyranny over the helot slaves by the dictates of their own gods, by the authority of their own valor, or by the love of their own families and interests. Their example is therefore less likely to spread, and it makes fewer claims on other places and times. The Declaration of Independence has larger pretensions, and if it is wrong, it is therefore more wrong, and more likely to constrain and interfere with the evolving standards of right that must come later. The idea of the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" would then be not a universal but a parochial idea, distinguished only because it is aggressive. It spreads like a virus and resists treatment with the same stubbornness.

* * *

Consider the US Constitution. It, too, must be regarded with a measure of respect. It is the longest surviving written constitution in all of history. For more than two centuries, it has provided a stable and free government for a nation that has increased manyfold in territory and population. It has grown across a continent and welcomed new states and new citizens upon an equal footing with the original. Its dominion has extended across the plains and the mountains to a distant ocean never seen by its Framers. It has welcomed and naturalized immigrants on a scale unknown to any other nation.

It has survived a great Civil War, still our nation's costliest war, during which its larger purpose of freedom was vindicated against the three compromises in its original text with human slavery. It has succeeded when our nation was remote from the great powers. It has succeeded through the great world wars and across a long era in which our power has been felt in every corner of the globe.

It has succeeded in an agrarian society. It has succeeded through the Industrial Revolution, through the jet age, and into the information age. It has survived, impaired but intact, through more than a century of organized opposition to its procedures and limits. Still today it commands the hearts of most Americans, and still today it places inconveniences in the way of those who would overcome it. In the making of fundamental law, there has been nothing like it. To ascribe its achievements to accident would be a failure of sense and of inquisitiveness.

Yet there seems to be something very annoying about the Constitution. It reads too much like a law, and this is made worse by the fact that it is a law. It is full of things you have to do and other things you may not do. It relates these things without the poetry of the Declaration. The language of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" stirs the heart and persists in the memory. The constitutional language requiring that the yeas and nays be recorded in the House of Representatives is not put so nobly, and that is because it is not so noble a thing. If it were only a detail, perhaps we could abide it better. Alas, the details in the Constitution are not only details, but also rules, rules that are especially awkward to change. They feel an awful lot like fetters.

Its being so bossy and its not being so inspiring, the Constitution has often been the object of controversy. The convention that drafted it was fractious for months. The debates through which it was ratified took years to reach agreement. Its fundamental arrangements were contested in the Civil War. All of this was before modern times, when the opposition has become serious.

Our modern elites in the academy, in journalism, and in politics regard the Constitution as a relic. They say every kind of negative against its meaning, its goodness, its relevance, its scope, its legality, its advisability, its comprehensibility, its connection or harmony with the rest of the Founding and especially with the Declaration of Independence. This practice has now persisted so long as to become tradition, nearly half as old as the Constitution itself.

In the end the modern opposition to the Declaration and the Constitution stems from the same source. The Founders understood the documents to be connected, to supply together the principles and the details of government, to be a persuasive and durable unity. The early leaders of the Progressive movement—Wilson, Dewey, Goodnow, and their friends—were opponents of them both. This proved a poor strategy politically. The words of the Declaration have a way of continuing to ring across the ages. The arrangements of the Constitution have a way of organizing our actions so as to produce certain results, and they have done this more reliably than any governing instrument in the history of man. Connect these arrangements to the beauty of the Declaration, and one has something inspiring and commanding. The Declaration acquires a practical form and operation that do not seem to come from it alone. The Constitution soars to the elevation of the natural law, and its arrangements are reinforced with that strength.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Founders' Key by Larry P. Arnn Copyright © 2012 by Larry P. Arnn. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

1. Eternal, Yet New....................3
2. Divide and Conquer....................7
3. Divorce: The Declaration and the Constitution Estranged?....................20
4. The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God....................38
5. That All Men Are Created Equal....................49
6. Hypocrisy....................64
7. The Marriage of Many Causes....................75
8. The Soul Writ Large....................97
Conclusion....................115
The Declaration of Independence....................127
The Constitution of the United States of America....................133
Federalist No. 10: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (Continued)....................160
Federalist No. 39: The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles....................169
Federalist No. 48: These Departments Should Not Be So Far Separated as to Have No Constitutional Control Over Each Other....................177
Federalist No. 49: Method of Guarding Against the Encroachments of Any One Department of Government by Appealing to the People Through a Convention....................183
Federalist No. 51: The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments....................189
"Property" by James Madison....................195
Notes....................199
Suggested Further Reading....................213
Acknowledgments....................215
About the Author....................217
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Customer Reviews

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( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    The words of the Declaration of Independence have a way of continuing to ring across the ages. The arrangements of the Constitution have a way of organizing our actions so as to produce certain results, and it has done this more reliably than any governing instrument in the history of man. The connection between the Constitution and the Declaration is both inspiring and commanding. The Declaration acquires a practical form and operation that do not seem to come from it alone. The Constitution soars to the elevation of the natural law, and its arrangements are reinforced with that strength. Dr. Arnn discusses why the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution do not contradict each other as progressives, academics and journalists claim. The author reminds us that we the people were intended to control the government as well as the government control certain human behaviors. At present we have no real control over the fourth branch, the Administrative system. This branch makes laws (regulations), supplanting the role of Congress. This branch administers penalties (fines) the function of the judicial branch. This is a very readable book, one that everyone interested in the issues of government should read. Dr. Arnn does an excellent job of presenting material from source documents: the Declaration, Constitution, and Federalist Papers. He also includes his source documents in the book. You don't have to take his word for what is being said. You can read it for yourself. I highly recommend this book. Whether you agree with his premises or not, you will at least have an understanding of what the source documents say and not be led astray by spurious reasoning. Knowing what is contained in the material will set you free to form your own opinions. I received a free copy of thee- book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    A Great Read for History Buffs Who Love Politics

    The Founder’s Key by Larry P. Arnn is a book that is great for history buffs; but not just any history buffs, but those who love the history of politics and for those who like our founding fathers. The book is very well researched. It is a book that set up in two parts. Part #1 is The Argument and Part # 2 is on Foundational Readings. I liked that the book has readings from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. I will say this I still love the fact that the founding fathers wanted us to have happiness and safety. The author also presented us quotes from James Madison through his essays for the Federalist. I am a history buff and I like broadening my thoughts and knowledge by reading things that are out of my historical genera of interests. This one was hard for me but I truly think it is just me. I think Larry Arnn has written this beautifully. My husband picked up the book and started it as well he found it fascinating. I only bring this up because I found the book dry but he did not. The book gives you the foundations of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I did like that the people and our founding fathers who wrote these important documents stood up against the king and stood so firm to their convictions that I am free because of their wants and desires. I think this book would be a good read for high school or college classes .l think this because the author researched it so well. I am giving this book three out of five stars. Now comes the time in my blog where I tell you that I receive this complementary book from BookSneeze the review I have written are my own opinions.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    Interesting Read

    "The Founders Key" is written by Larry P. Arnin, and is a summation of Arnin's theories on two important documents - the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Arnin makes the argument that Americans have "divorced" these two documents as to pick and choose from an ala carte menu of freedoms and beliefs. Politicians, citizens, and businesses of all kinds have separated these two documents, rather than unite them as one, thus accepting all of the powers, rights, and beliefs of both documents as the founding principles of our country. Arnin makes a good argument for his basis of this book, and I found it to be very interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    A Complex Read

    I received a copy of THE FOUNDERS’ KEY: THE DIVINE AND NATURAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DECLARATION AND THE CONSTITUTION AND WHAT WE RISK BY LOSING IT by Larry P. Arnn, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. I love history, so I was eager to read this book.

    Sadly, this book does not touch on the history of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution much. I found the writing style very dry. Rather than being a recreational, thought provoking read, it felt like a textbook I was forced to study for a college class. Information piled upon more information until I felt lost, and had to reread whole paragraphs to earn my place.

    My favorite part was the first page, where Larry P. Arnn includes a letter from John Adams to his wife – a great history fix. The chapter continues by comparing America’s birthday to other countries. We don’t know when China’s birthday is, for example, but America does have one. It is an intriguing concept to consider.

    The book is divided into two parts. The first is the Argument and the second is Foundational Readings. The end includes notes, suggested further reading, and acknowledgements. Overall, I concluded THE FOUNDERS’ KEY to be interesting and well researched, but not my type of book. I am passing it on to my friend, who is a political enthusiast.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    Highly recommended

    The basic ideas and philosophy on which our country is founded. A perfect guide
    for anyone who would run for public office.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    I liked alot of his points but I think he was slow to get to the

    I liked alot of his points but I think he was slow to get to them. He speaks to the growth of government and how much of our government is outside the control of congress and therefore outside the ability for it to be reigned in easily. Many of the agencies get their funding from other means beyond the congressional budgeting process. Again making them difficult to control and reign in. He defines the 'Progressive Movement" that is the direct cause of the growth of government and the disregard of the constitution. He compares and contrasts the differences between progressive / socialistic government and a constitutional government. He is optimistic that 'although it will take time to recover constitutional government a start can be made now, and significant results can be achieved soon.' I hope he is right  but question whether it is possible. We have had years of progressive teaching in schools to the point where the younger generations have been so indoctrinated  to believe the constitution is a bad and something to work around. I very much enjoyed the book but I am not sure he gets to a good, concrete plan as to how to turn it around. I think his book does a great job of identifying the problems though and maybe that is half the battle - just getting people to see the problem. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    The Founders' Key is largely a historical discussion of the link

    The Founders' Key is largely a historical discussion of the link between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. It brings to light the intentions of the Founding Fathers as evidenced by outside sources such as the Federalist Papers. The author also does a fairly good job of discussing the pros and cons of representative government.

    The summary on the back of the book makes it seem as though this book will be about how leaders since the early part of the twentieth century have ignored the Constitution to the detriment of the country. However, the majority of the book isn't much more than a discourse on the intentions behind the two documents. Anyone who already has a keen understanding of American history won't be surprised by much of the book. Occasionally, the author makes mention of instances in our history when the Constitution hasn't been espoused, but not on the large scale that I was led to believe would be in this book.

    I found that the book became most interesting during the conclusion, when the author does more than make mere mention of specific American institutions that are not listed in the Constitution - such as the federalized education and welfare systems. In the conclusion, the reader gets a taste of what the author was trying to convey. Unfortunately, there isn't enough there to sate the appetite.

    I do hope that the author publishes a second book that further develops the study of the treatment of the Constitution by our nation's leaders - perhaps going farther back than Wilson, since Lincoln was also a master of laying the Constitution aside when he felt it served the needs of his times. And for that matter, Jefferson himself stated that future generations should not feel bound by the needs of his generation. I would love to read a discourse on this topic. I believe the author is up to this challenge. I just don't believe it happens in this book.

    Ultimately, the book would be a good read for anyone who is trying to gain a deeper understanding of the two documents that form the basis of our nation.

    Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2012

    Upon reading “The Founders’ Key” by Larry P. A

    Upon reading “The Founders’ Key” by Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, I am even more convinced America is at a cross roads. We are a nation divided, with one side endeavoring to preserve our constitutional heritage and the other seeking to change it.

    I recommend this book for anyone weak on American history and our founding government. It is a great start to learning about our Nation: where we’ve been, where we are and where we are headed!
    This book was provided complimentary by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through BookSneeze for the purpose of honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This was a difficult one. While I enjoyed this book due to the n

    This was a difficult one. While I enjoyed this book due to the nature and thought behind it – the book was difficult for me to read. After a long day at work I try to unwind and relax when reading but this book required thought and definitely wound me up.

    Do I think it’s worth reading? Absolutely. I’ve even purchased copies for friends & the kids teachers.
    Do I think it’s a fun book? Absolutely not — it’s not meant to be — but it will teach you a ton and give you direction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2012

    The Founders’ Key written by Larry P. Arnn is an enlighte

    The Founders’ Key written by Larry P. Arnn is an enlightening read but not an easy read. Dr. Arnn emphasizes the unity and importance of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. These are the pillars of our country on which our liberties hang. Both of these documents have guided our nation to become the first self-governing nation. These two documents made our nation great; however, not everyone thinks so. Many politicians think these documents are outdated, and some would like to redesign the Declaration of Independence to suit their agendas today. Dr. Arnn shows how each document combines together to uphold our nation’s freedoms and rights. He reveals how the Constitution and Declaration of Independence emphasizes less government control. Both documents are needed to prevent us from losing more and more of our liberties. This book provides the information necessary to understand the debate on the constitution and to defend our liberties. It is not an “easy” read, but it is full of information about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. It includes some of the federalist letters by James Madison , also. It is very enlightening although discouraging when one considers the direction our country is going.

    I received this book free from the publisher through Booksneeze Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2012

    A Wonderful, Inspiring Book!!!

    The history of America is an inspirational story of God's work and blessing. Our founding fathers were great men of worth and dedication, who built a Godly, wonderful country for us. They left us a heritage of love for our Savior, a love for our land, and love for our fellow man.

    However, they also left us the great documents which shaped our country from the beginning. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Both documents were created together and meant to be used together for the good of the American People.

    Today, the Constitution and the Declaration are under attack. They aren't being attacked by foreign countries, but by the very people they were written to protect. Our government is tearing apart the papers that formed them in the first place.

    In this engaging and historically accurate book, Larry Arnn explores the history of our founding documents, their historical and social significance, and traces the sad tale of breaking them apart.

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to misuse one document without the other, and he started a trend that continues today. Two documents that were made to be equal partners are torn and separated.

    If we as the American people would reclaim our documents and the history behind them, we will reclaim our religious freedom and the true meaning of our Country.

    Score ~ ¿¿¿¿¿
    Violence ~ None
    Indecency ~ None
    Language ~ None
    Age Appropriateness ~ 15 and Up

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    The Founders' Key was my first historical book that dealt with p

    The Founders' Key was my first historical book that dealt with politics. At first I was slightly nervous to dive into such an undertaking, but little did I know the interesting things waiting to be discovered. Larry P. Arnn successfully explained to me how the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, although seemingly different, are united to form a beautiful duet that is full of harmonies. The Declaration, seemingly based on liberal ideas, versus the Constitution that seems to take more of a conservative side of life. When I started reading it, I had very little to no education on American history, and neither did I have a brain that was ready to dive into it. Arnn's writing has a readability that even I, a lowly, uneducated, 16-year-old could understand. His writing has a way of being readable, and completely understandable to someone like me, but yet has a depth that any scholar could appreciate (at least I would hope so). Despite being written from what seemed like a slight bias, it was sincerely educating and I enjoyed every word of it. I suggest the book for any reader, young and old, even if your not in to politics and American history. If your worried about being swamped with names, quotes, dates, boring data, and other theoretical and long-worded evidence, don't be. It's simple, straight-forward style is sure to educate despite your background.

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  • Posted March 16, 2012

    This is a long title for what turned out to be a rather short bo

    This is a long title for what turned out to be a rather short book. Halfway through this otherwise excellent treatise on the contemporary value of these founding documents we find none other than the full text of the documents themselves. This was a major disappointment as I found the author's positions and arguments compelling and worth reading. His credentials at first rendered the book too academic sounding. But the stories provided a more genuine argument. I wanted the book to go on. But suddenly it was over. It felt incomplete and quite frankly I felt robbed. If I wanted to read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist papers, I can do so for free on-line. I'm not sure whether this was the author's idea or the publisher's. Either way, it reduced my otherwise high ranking of this book as a result. Had the author or publisher provided a reference section of the author's other supporting work, I would have gone there just to get the rest of the story. I'm sure Mr. Arnn has much more to say. As it is, the Suggested Further Reading section provides many other authors, but not Mr. Arnn. I am also curious how Thomas Nelson gained the copyright to our founding documents, as the copyright page clearly states, "No portion of this book may be reproduced...except for brief quotations...without the prior written permission of the publisher."

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not an easy book, but worth the effort!

    I haven't studied the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or even thought about either one of them much since about 10th grade. Which was a fairly long time ago. I wish that I'd taken the time to re-read them (both are helpfully included at the back of this book) before I started reading The Founders' Key, because I think I would have been a little less overwhelmed if I had done so.

    The author is a college president and professor of politics and history and, honestly, the book seems more like a college course than a book. The writing style is a little dry, but there is a lot of great information in The Founders' Key, so it's worth the effort. It took me several chapters to get used to the author's style, and eventually I really got into the book and enjoyed it. It's well worth the mental effort.



    The Founders' Key has a lot of background on the authors of the Declaration and the Constitution, their backgrounds and motivations in writing these two documents and how the two documents compliment each other and work together. There are also interesting discussions about the American style of government and how it has changed since the time of the Founders. I particularly was interested in the chapter entitled "Hypocrisy", which has a nice discussion of the Founders' views on slavery and why they didn't abolish it when they wrote the Declaration or the Constitution. This chapter was a fascinating discussion of a topic I've often thought and wondered about.


    All in all, this is a very informative, thought-provoking and intelligent book. It's a fairly short book- only 123 pages, plus the Declaration and Constitution and several Federalist papers. If you're at all interested in American Government or the Declaration and Constitution, I highly recommend reading The Founders' Key.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the Booksneeze book review program. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are two of

    The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are two of the most vital documents in our society. Today, many in the progressive movement would love to strip them from our conscience and change the way society works. When FDR separated the documents, he began the belief that both of them are powerful and necessary. In this new book, Dr. Larry Arnn shows just how important it is for us to fight to keep them together and useful today. Our Founders knew that the new government was fragile, but they also knew that a solid foundation was vitally important. Who is really supposed to control society and its people? What is the true purpose of government? What did the Founders know that has been lost to many citizens today? Why not pick up this book and re-learn the importance and reason for these two precious documents? It's time to discover, "The Founder's Key."

    As a history buff, I was thrilled to receive a free copy of this book from the Book Sneeze program for review. As I listen to the news today, I find it vitally important that our children learn the real importance of our founding documents, and that the rest of us get a big reminder. This is a wonderful book to share and will make a great gift for anyone who wants to know more about what our country was founded on and what we stand to lose.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Founders' Key - Read this book and weep for America!

    I am not ashamed to admit that I am not only “old” but I am from the “old school” and I loved the good old fashioned ways and the “good old days” when the belief was “God, Guns and Guts made America great – Let’s keep all three” reigned supreme in our land. Okay, some of you reading this review might not be big on the guns and guts part, but I do hope that you are really big about the GOD part. I was really excited about receiving the book The Founders’ Key and reading it because I am very concerned as an American the path that our political leaders are taking us down. I have to admit that it has been a long time since I have read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and would surely fail a 12th grade history test if questions about them were on the test. And that’s sad, because the faith and beliefs of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution as well as the documents themselves are so important not only to the past of our country, but to our present and future as well. In his book, author Arnn, writes about the direct relationship between “The Divine and natural connection between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and what we risk by losing it.” And if you read his book with both eyes open as well as your heart, you will learn just what we stand to lose unless we elect political leaders who hold a high view of God, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. It would be interesting to take a survey of our all of our Senators and Congressmen and women to see just how much they know about the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. I have a suspicion that the results of such a survey would not only surprise you but greatly alarm you. So, what’s the big deal, you ask? The big deal is as author Arnn shares in his book, the men and women who are now guiding our government and writing our laws that govern our land for the most part are nothing like the founding fathers of our great nation AND they are not following the high spiritual, moral and political standards established by our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. I was grateful and most pleased to find a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution as well as some of Madison’s 26 Federalist essays as originally written included in the book. Just to have a book to read them makes it worth the purchase but there is so much more of value in this book to any American citizen who is concerned about our country’s present and future. If I remember correctly there is a saying in Poker, “Read ‘em and weep,” which is what someone who knows he has the winning hand says to the rest of the players in the game. Well my fellow Americans and friends read this book and weep because the faith in God and principles that our country was founded upon are no more and unless we do something about it as citizens I fear America may be ultimately doomed as a nation. I received a complementary copy of The Founders' Key from Thomas Nelson Publishers for reviewing it.

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