Books recommended by the John Locke Foundation
(** indicates highly recommended)
**The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Thomas E. Woods Jr., Regnery Publishing, 2004) From Amazon.com: Covering the colonial era through the Clinton administration, Woods seeks to debunk some persistent myths about American history.
**The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution (Kevin R. C. Gutzman. Regnery Publishing, 2007) From Amazon.com: In The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, readers will follow the Supreme Court as it uses the Constitution as a fig leaf to cover its blatant seizing of the people’s right to govern themselves through elections. Gutzman unveils the radical inconsistency between constitutional law and the rule of law, and shows why and how the Supreme Court should be reined in to the proper role assigned to it by the Founders.
**The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers (Brion McClanahan. Regnery Publishing, 2009)
From Amazon.com: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers provides a neat summary history of America’s founding documents, profiles all the leading Founders (and some unjustly neglected ones), and shows how they have better answers to today’s problems than our politicians do.
**A Patriot’s History of the United States (Larry Schweikart. Penguin Publishing, 2007)
From Amazon.com: In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.
**The Conservative Constitution (Russell Kirk Regnery Publishing, 1991)
From Amazon.com: The Constitution’s purpose was thoroughly conservative, Russell Kirk emphatically states.
**Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin (Bill Kauffman. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2008)
From Amazon.com: Kauffman’s Luther Martin is a brilliant and passionate polemicist, a stubborn and admirable defender of a decentralized republic who fights for the principles of 1776 all the way to the last ditch and last drop. In remembering this forgotten founder, we remember also the principles that once animated many of the earliest—and many later—American patriots.
**Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of North Carolina Convened at Hillsborough, on Monday the 21st Day of July, 1788, for the Purpose of Deliberating and Determining on the Constitution Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, the 17th Day of September, 1787: To Which is Prefixed the Said Constitution (Edenton, 1789). (This can be found online)
**New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR’s Economic Legacy has Damaged America (Burton W. Fulsom, Jr. Simon and Schuster, 2008)
From Amazon.com: Folsom takes a revisionist look at FDR’s programs that hindered economic recovery in the 30s, and are being looked at as solutions in today’s crisis.
The Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay)
From Amazon.com: The Federalist remains a primary source for interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. According to historian Richard B. Morris, they are an “incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer.”
The Anti-Federalist: Writings by the Opponents of the Constitution (Herbert J. Storing, University of Chicago Press, 1985)
From the publisher: Herbert J. Storing’s Complete Anti-Federalist, hailed as “a civic event of enduring importance” (Leonard W. Levy, New York Times Book Review), indisputably established the importance of the Anti-Federalists’ writings for our understanding of the Constitution. As Storing wrote in his introduction, “If the foundation of the American polity was laid by the Federalists, the Anti-Federalist reservations echo through American history; and it is in the dialogue, not merely in the Federalist victory, that the country’s principles are to be discovered.”
Democracy in America (Alexis De Tocqueville)
From Amazon.com: In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat and ambitious civil servant, made a nine-month journey throughout America. The result was Democracy in America, a monumental study of the life and institutions of the evolving nation.
1776 (David McCullough. Simon and Schuster, 2006)
From Amazon.com: Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution.
**We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering our Principles, Reclaiming our Future (Matthew Spalding, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2009)
From westillholdthesetruths.org: In We Still Hold These Truths Spalding explains and brings to life ten core principles that define us as a nation and inspire us as a people—liberty and equality, natural rights and the consent of the governed, private property and religious freedom, the rule of law and constitutionalism, all culminating in self-government at home and independence in the world. His enlightening and engaging tour through America’s founding not only recalls the deep roots of our “first principles” in Western civilization but also reveals their enduring lessons for today.
The Founders’ Almanac: A Practical Guide to the Notable Events, Greatest Leaders & Most Eloquent Words of the American Founding (Matthew Spalding. Heritage Books, 2004) From Amazon.com: The Founders’ Almanac is an easy-to-use guide to the origins of American democracy — focusing on information that is especially valuable for our day. The calendar describes important events of the era. Biographical essays introduce the leading Founders — including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams — and discuss the major themes of their statesmanship. An extensive compilation of quotations reflects the wit and wisdom of the Founding generation, and an annotated bibliography suggests additional readings. Historical documents — the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and Washington’s Farewell Address — and interpretative essays reacquaint the reader with immortal words and their contemporary meaning.
How To Read The Federalist Papers (Anthony A. Peacock, The Heritage Foundation, 2010)
From Amazon.com: In this monograph, Anthony Peacock, professor of political science at Utah State University, offers us a brief guide to The Federalist, a road map illuminating the major issues treated in the essays and explaining their continued relevance for us today. An appendix of important passages on contemporary subjects is also included as a helpful resource for interested readers.
Constitutionalism And The Rule Of Law In America (Herman Belz, The Heritage Foundation, 2009)
From Amazon.com: In this monograph, noted professor of constitutional history at the University of Maryland Herman Belz tells the story of the development of these [constitutional] principles and explains how they were established in the United States. Strained under the attack of progressive and then New Deal reformers, revived under modern conservatism and the argument for constitutional originalism, these principles remain just as relevant and controversial as they were in 1787. Today, it is the task of those who wish to preserve liberty and self-government to conserve and defend constitutionalism and the rule of law.
How the Progressives Rewrote the Constitution, (Richard A. Epstein, Cato Institute, 2006)
From Economic Affairs: Epstein provides an astonishingly detailed account of the reformation of the US Constitution in surprisingly few pages. He highlights every major court case that altered the original ideals of the Constitution ever so slightly, but that turned out in the end to land America drastically far from the sound political ideals with which it had begun. Using intricate logic he lays out a strong argument against the Progressives and an equally strong argument for the Old Court. For Americans, this book is a mandatory read
Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (Randy E. Barnett, Princeton University Press, 2004) From Mark Tushnet, Georgetown University: Step by step, Randy Barnett constructs an intriguing case for a moderately libertarian natural-rights Constitution that allows government action only when, and because, doing so protects the generously defined liberties of each person. Along the way he sheds new light on old controversies. This book should provoke the kind of controversy that advances our understanding of the Constitution.
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (Edwin Meese III, editor, The Heritage Foundation, 2005) From the book cover: With the leadership of former Attorney General Edwin Meese, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution brings together more than one hundred of the nation’s best legal experts to provide the first ever line-by-line examination of the of the complete Constitution and its contemporary meaning.
Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class and Justice in the Origins of America (Thomas G. West, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997)
From the Library Journal: West (Univ. of Dallas) aims to defend the U.S. Constitution and the men who drafted it in 1787 from the accusations of sexism, racism, and prejudice against the poor. West writes from a conservative perspective, and, as he frequently pauses to remind the reader, his arguments are learned and logical.
The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science: Transforming the American Regime (John Marini. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2004)
From Amazon.com: The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science explores the scope, ambition, and effect of the Progressive revolution of a century ago, which relegated the theory and practice of the Founders to an antiquated historical phase. By contrast, the contributors see beyond the horizon of Progressivism to take account of the Founders’ moral and political premises and illuminate its effects on our political science and political practice today. It is a study in political philosophy, intellectual history, and current political understanding.
Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism (Ronald J. Pestritto. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005)
From Amazon.com: Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism highlights Wilson’s sharp departure from the traditional principles of American government, most notably the Constitution. Ronald J. Pestritto persuasively argues that Wilson’s unfailing criticism places him clearly in line with the Progressives’ assault on the original principles of American constitutionalism. Drawing primarily from early writings and speeches that Wilson made during his years as a scholar, Pestritto examines the future president’s clear and consistent ideologies that laid the foundation for later actions taken as a public leader.
American Progressivism: A Reader (Ronald J. Pestritto. Lexington Books, 2008)
From Amazon.com: This collection of writings by prominent politicians, authors, and activists of the Progressive Era explores Progressivism’s role in the development of American political thought. Pestritto and Atto provide insight into each figure’s influence on Progressive Era American politics by introducing each entry with the context within which the author of a given selection is writing.
Modern America and the Legacy of Founding (Ronald J. Pestritto et al. Lexington Books, 2004)
From Amazon.com: The authors of this book address how the fundamental tensions between modern liberalism and the ideas of the founders have played out in the context of contemporary thought and practice in American politics.
Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (James McClellan, Liberty Fund, 2000)
From Amazon.com: Unlike most textbooks in American Government, Liberty, Order, and Justice seeks to familiarize the student with the basic principles of the Constitution, and to explain their origin, meaning, and purpose. Particular emphasis is placed on federalism and the separation of powers.
Justice James Iredell (Willis P. Whichard, Carolina Academic Press, 2000) From Amazon.com: In Justice James Iredell, Whichard traces the life of this public servant from customs officer to lawyer to eminent statesman and concludes with a description of the man himself: his family, friends, finances, slaves, and religion. This fascinating book includes a picture of Justice Iredell as well as pictures of his wife, associates, home town, and publications.
Empire and Nation (edited by Forrest McDonald Liberty Fund Inc., 2nd edition, 1999) Includes Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania and Letters from the Federal Farmer.
From Amazon.com: Two series of letters described as ‘the wellsprings of nearly all ensuing debate on the limits of governmental power in the United States’ address the range of issues provoked by the crisis of British policies in North America out of which a new nation emerged from an overreaching empire.
**The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (David L. Holmes, Oxford University Press, 2006)
From Publisher’s Weekly: In demystifying what has been argument fodder for over 200 years, religion scholar Holmes (A Brief History of the Episcopal Church; A Nation Mourns) sorts through the carefully constructed (and ambiguous or contradictory) versions of the personal beliefs the United States’s founding fathers presented to the outside world to present a sound case for what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and others did or didn’t do on Sundays.
The Ratification of the Federal Constitution in North Carolina (Louise Irby Trenholme, Columbia University Press, 1932) (online edition at www.questia.com)
From the preface: This study attempts to present those conditions which kept North Carolina from participating in the establishment of the government, and those forces which in time brought the state into the union.
The Southern Federalists, 1800-1816 (James H. Broussard, Louisiana State University Press, 1978) From Yale Review: A pioneer synthesis about a much neglected era in the Southern past.
Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century (Thomas Woods, Regnery Press, 2010)
From Amazon.com: As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. From privacy to national healthcare, Woods shows how this growing and popular movement is sweeping across America and empowering states to take action against Obama’s socialist policies and big-government agenda.
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (Richard Brookhiser, Free Press, 1997)
From Library Journal: Contradicting the recent trend that denigrates Washington, Brookhiser, senior editor at the National Review and author of The Way of the WASP, offers this “moral biography” of the first president. He explores Washington’s role as a general, his part in the writing of the Constitution, and his years as president. Brookhiser then turns to Washington’s private life, examining his character, his strong sense of duty, and his constant struggle to hold his temper in check so he could be an effective leader. Finally, the author describes Washington’s role as the father of his country.
48 Liberal Lies About American History: [That You Probably Learned in School] (Larry Schweikart, Sentinel Trade, 2009)
From Publisher’s Weekly: Textbooks have long served as a main battlefield in the culture wars and the latest salvo comes from Schweikart, a history professor at the University of Dayton (A Patriot’s History of the United States), who examines leading American history texts and other books that he sees as purveying a distinctly slanted view of American history—one that portrays the United States as oppressive, imperialistic, and evil. Each lie is deliberated in a brief essay.
Seven Events that Made America America (Larry Schweikart, Sentinel HC, 2010)
From The Wall Street Journal: A fluid account of America from the discovery of the Continent up to the present day.
What Would the Founders Do?: Our Questions, Their Answers (Richard Brookhiser, Perseus Books Group, 2007)
From Booklist: Brookhiser is a celebrated historian who has written extensively about some of the Founding Fathers. Here he brings his vast knowledge and considerable wit to bear on analyzing how they might approach some of our currently divisive issues.
America: The Last Best Hope (William J. Bennett, Thomas Nelson, 2006)
From Publisher’s Weekly: Bennett, a secretary of education under President Reagan and author of The Book of Virtues, offers a new, improved history of America, one, he says, that will respark hope and a “conviction about American greatness and purpose” in readers.