The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution
by Brion McClanahan
That the Constitution has a definite meaning and that this meaning is knowable to modern Americans is a contentious idea. Many politicians tell us that the Constitution is a “living document,” which is code for saying that it can be twisted to mean whatever they want it to mean at any given moment. This is nonsense, says historian Brion McClanahan, who makes what should be an obvious point – the Constitution means what the people who wrote and ratified it understood it to mean. Drawing extensively on the founding generation’s own words, McClanahan shows that they understood the Constitution to be a limited compact among sovereign states. McClanahan shows how the debates in the Constitutional Convention and the state ratification conventions inform us how the Founders understood the Constitution – and how we should interpret it today.
Praise for The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution
“For generations, left-wing judges, professors, and lawyers have told us that we can never know what the Constitution was supposed to mean, so judges are free to do what they want. Yet, in The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution, Brion McClanahan gives us a clear, clause-by-clause explanation of the original understanding of the Constitution. Constitutional government is possible, if only officials would be true to their oaths.” – Kevin Gutzman, author of James Madison and the Making of America
“Dr. McClanahan, with insight, painstaking effort, and that rare thing, plain common sense, has presented here as good a picture as we will get of what the Constitution really meant to those who wrote and ratified it. This book is not only a notable feat of historianship but also an important exercise of citizenship that will enlighten those who yearn for truth.” – Clyde Wilson, professor emeritus of history, University of South Carolina
“This book can best be described as intellectual hard medicine. The readers’ minds will be purged of all the nonsense they have been taught about the Constitution so they can see the document as intended by the founding generation that produced it.” – Marshall DeRosa, professor of political science, Florida Atlantic University
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