America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding

America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding

by Robert Reilly
America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding

America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding

by Robert Reilly


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The Founding of the American Republic is on trial. Critics say it was a poison pill with a time-release formula; we are its victims. Its principles are responsible for the country's moral and social disintegration because they were based on the Enlightenment falsehood of radical individual autonomy.

In this well-researched book, Robert Reilly declares: not guilty. To prove his case, he traces the lineage of the ideas that made the United States, and its ordered liberty, possible. These concepts were extraordinary when they first burst upon the ancient world: the Judaic oneness of God, who creates ex nihilo and imprints his image on man; the Greek rational order of the world based upon the Reason behind it; and the Christian arrival of that Reason (Logos) incarnate in Christ. These may seem a long way from the American Founding, but Reilly argues that they are, in fact, its bedrock. Combined, they mandated the exercise of both freedom and reason.

These concepts were further developed by thinkers in the Middle Ages, who formulated the basic principles of constitutional rule. Why were they later rejected by those claiming the right to absolute rule, then reclaimed by the American Founders, only to be rejected again today? Reilly reveals the underlying drama: the conflict of might makes right versus right makes might.  America's decline, he claims, is not to be discovered in the Founding principles, but in their disavowal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586179489
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication date: 04/02/2020
Edition description: None
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Robert R. Reilly is Director of the Westminster Institute. In his twenty-five years of government service, he served as Special Assistant to the President and as Director of the Voice of America, and he was also Senior Advisor for Information Strategy to the Secretary of Defense, and taught at National Defense University. He attended Georgetown University and the Claremont Graduate University, and he has published widely on American politics and morals, foreign policy, and classical music. His other books include Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything, Surprised by Beauty: A Listener's Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music, and The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xv

Introduction: Do We Hold These Truths? 1

1 The Legacies of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome 15

2 The Medieval Roots of Constitutionalism 66

3 The Loss of Reason and Nature 108

4 Enter: Martin Luther-Exit: Christendom 127

5 Richard Hooker: Restoring Natural Law 158

6 Thomas Hobbes and the Rise of Secular Absolutism 172

7 The Divine Right of Kings and Its Enemies 196

8 John Locke: Problem or Solution? 225

9 A Restorative Founding on Reason 248

10 The Antipodes: The American Revolution versus the French Revolution 274

11 Critiquing the Critics: Why They Go Wrong about What Was Right 289

12 Is Slavery the Founding's Fault? 320

Epilogue: If the Founding Was Good, Why Did Things Go Bad? 343

Selected Bibliography 355

Index 369

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