The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America

The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America

by F. H. Buckley
     
 

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This remarkable new book shatters just about every myth surrounding American government, the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, and offers the clearest warning about the alarming rise of one-man rule in the age of Obama.

Most Americans believe that this country uniquely protects liberty, that it does so because of its Constitution, and that for this our

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Overview


This remarkable new book shatters just about every myth surrounding American government, the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, and offers the clearest warning about the alarming rise of one-man rule in the age of Obama.

Most Americans believe that this country uniquely protects liberty, that it does so because of its Constitution, and that for this our thanks must go to the Founders, at their Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

F. H. Buckley’s new book debunks all these myths. America isn’t the freest country around, according to the think tanks that study these things. And it’s not the Constitution that made it free, since parliamentary regimes are generally freer than presidential ones. Finally, what we think of as the Constitution, with its separation of powers, was not what the Founders had in mind. What they expected was a country in which Congress would dominate the government, and in which the president would play a much smaller role.

Sadly, that’s not the government we have today. What we have instead is what Buckley calls Crown government: the rule of an all-powerful president. The country began in a revolt against one king, and today we see the dawn of a new kind of monarchy. What we have is what Founder George Mason called an “elective monarchy,” which he thought would be worse than the real thing.

Much of this is irreversible. Constitutional amendments to redress the balance of power are extremely unlikely; and most Americans seem to have accepted, and even welcomed, Crown government. The way back lies through Congress, and Buckley suggests feasible reforms that it might adopt, to regain the authority and respect that it has squandered.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A powerfully argued indictment of the growth of executive power in Great Britain and its former colonies, the United States and Canada. Buckley’s book is greatly enhanced by his expert knowledge of the constitutions and politics of these three English-speaking nations. He shows, as few scholars have, just how much of the time we live in a fog and create results we never intended.

Gordon Wood, Brown University, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution

The Once and Future King deals with constitutional issues at a more serious level than almost anything else I have read recently. The prose, moreover, is elegant and flowing. This is a beautifully written, very interesting, and largely persuasive book.

Philip Hamburger, Columbia Law School, author of Separation of Church and State

The book is immensely enjoyable to read and to think about. It’s a bracing read, in every way.

Sanford V. Levinson, University of Texas School of Law, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)

This is a bold and willfully provocative critique of American presidential power, how and why it got to be that way, and what we can do to change it. Buckley takes no prisoners in his trip back to the American founding, with forays into the British and Canadian political systems, questioning all the conventional pieties and received wisdom along the way. If history truly is an argument without end, this is a new entry in the debate.

Joseph J. Ellis, Mt. Holyoke, author of Founding Brothers and Revolutionary Summer

The Once and Future King is a work of virtuoso scholarship—bold, iconoclastic, and practical-minded in the spirit of the Framers themselves.

Christopher DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594037191
Publisher:
Encounter Books
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author


F.H. Buckley is a Foundation Professor at George Mason School of Law, the author of The Morality of Laughter (Michigan, 2003) and the editor of The American Illness (Yale, 2013).

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