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Product Details

  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062066331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062066336
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,498,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An elegantly written and clear-eyed portrait of the centuries-long struggle to constitutionally protect individual liberty from a governing class who would, in the name of of the “public interest,” harness the power of the state for private gain. (Randy E. Barnett, professor of constitutional law, Georgetown Law Center and author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty.)

Concise, illuminating history...Leahy explains how the modern Tea Party offers a path to recapture the liberties that our constitutional republic was founded to secure. (Richard E. Wagner, professor of economics, George Mason University)

No political movement in recent memory has had the immediate impact of the Tea Party. Leahy lucidly explains both the historical and philosophical roots of the Tea Party, providing a useful guide both to his contemporaries and to future historians. (Ambassador John Bolton)

In Covenant of Liberty, tea party leader Michael Patrick Leahy shows how the tea partiers have reinjected the ideas and principles of the Founding Fathers into political discourse--and the revolutionary effect they have had.” (Michael Barone, senior political analyst, Washington Examiner)

From the Back Cover

Today's Tea Party activists are motivated by the same ideological desires as our nation's Founding Fathers, argues Michael Patrick Leahy in this illuminating work of political history.

Today's political class—in both parties and at all levels of government—shows a blatant disregard for both the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution. More and more Americans are fed up, and from this sweeping sense of discontent and anger the Tea Party movement has emerged, revitalizing the spirit of constitutionalist activism in the conservative world.

According to author and Tea Party activist Michael Patrick Leahy, a similar lack of accountability ignited our nation's Founding Fathers, and they were motivated by the same ideological desires: to constitutionally limit government, ensure fiscal responsibility, and defend individual liberty. These imperatives were at the heart of what he calls a "covenant of liberty," which undergirds our written Constitution. Leahy traces these ideas to the libertarian traditions of the English Civil War. He explains why they were on the minds of Americans at the birth of the republic, and how they passed down largely intact from generation to generation, were broken by a corrupted political class, and have been rediscovered by the modern Tea Party movement.

According to Leahy, the American constitutional covenant consists of four unwritten promises that most citizens continue to regard as crucial to our government's legitimacy. The story of how this covenant evolved and how its fundamental promises were broken forms the core of this unique and original work of political history.

As Leahy shows, the first promise—to abide by the written words of the Constitution—was broken before the ink was dry on the nation's founding documents. The second—to refrain from interfering in private economic matters—was broken by the Republican Party in the 1860s. The third—to honor the customs, traditions, and principles that made up the "fiscal constitution"—was broken by Herbert Hoover 143 years after the establishment of our republic, a sad rupture conducted on an even grander scale by his successors, beginning with Franklin Roosevelt and continuing through the administration of Barack Obama.

The breaking of these promises greatly accelerated the natural tendency of governments to centralize and consolidate power at the expense of individual liberty. Had not the fourth and final promise—that members of the legislative branch would exercise thoughtful deliberation while giving respectful consideration to the views of their constituents—been broken in such a disdainful and audacious manner in early 2009, the grassroots activists who came to make up the Tea Party would never have been impelled to take action.

Drawing on his personal experience as the organizer of the online conservative community that launched the Tea Party movement in February 2009, Leahy documents how the timeless principles of American constitutionalism have been used to grow one of the most active and influential movements in American history.


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Customer Reviews

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This book is thinker, read a little think plenty.
Suzanne Green
The St. Louis Cardinals owe big government statism and technological innovation a big thanks, in addition to geography and great teams.
William T. Hennessy
Michael Patrick Leahy, has done a magnificent job with Covenant of Liberty.
L. L. Jordan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The St. Louis Cardinals were the major league team farthest west and farthest south until the 1950s. But that's not the only reason the Redbirds built a massive flock of fans from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The St. Louis Cardinals owe big government statism and technological innovation a big thanks, in addition to geography and great teams. The technology was radio. The big government statist? None other than Herbert Hoover.

This was just one of the amazing facts I put together reading Michael Patrick Leahy's magnificent book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.

No, Mike didn't devote page space to the Cardinals. Instead, he traces the ideological roots of the Tea Party--and the government-loving hatchet men who've been chopping at those roots since the Constitution was signed.

Hoover, working , used his power as cabinet secretary under Woodrow Wilson, and later Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, to grab the radio airwaves as the exclusive property of the US Government. A champion of "associationalism" and public-private partnerships, Hoover granted mega-station power to a handful of lucky radio corporations. These stations got 50,000 watt, clear channel licenses, allowing them to blast their signals around the continent. And, thanks to geography, one station could broadcast around the world.

That station, KMOX in St. Louis, began broadcasting the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926. KMOX carried the Cardinals to farms, small towns, and cities throughout the Midwest and South Central states. In fact, by 1928, KMOX could be heard as far away as New Zealand, making it the first truly global radio station.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Terry Whalin on March 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Tea Party Movement appears like it burst on the recent political scene. In COVENANT OF LIBERTY, Michael Patrick Leahy takes the reader on a journey through history looking at the movement. As he writes in the introduction, "If we remain faithful to our inheritance and carry forward the core values of the Tea Party movement with authentic grassroots intensity over the next generation, the future of our country is bright indeed. Based on my personal experiences over the last three years, I have no reason to doubt that we will succeed in this effort, and that our posterity will be able to say of us, They restored the covenant of liberty."(Page 5)

The information in this book is well documented and the writing is solid. If you want to know where the Tea Party came from, then you need this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. L. Jordan on March 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Patrick Leahy has done an amazing job in compiling a string of broken promises. Promises made by our founding fathers, all the way to our current political hierarchy. His string of broken promises traces to, and clearly identifies, the systemic problems we currently face as a nation. The Tea Party was formed to slowly return constitutional promises to the people. To breath life into an America currently falling astray from the principals of the founding fathers.

His words are powerful. They give us hope of repairing the significant systemic problems created by misguided legislators. In just a few electoral cycles, we can return this nation to the promise made long ago, a nation of the people, by the people, and at last, for the people.

Michael Patrick Leahy, has done a magnificent job with Covenant of Liberty. It is absolutely a must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ChristinaKB on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
To date, there have been several books claiming to explain the phenomenon of American Tea Party movement.

Leahy, as one of the first and major organizers of the Tea Party rallies of 2009 and ultimately the movement itself, has gone through and illuminated the historical and intellectual path taken by the people of the Tea Party.

He strips away the cheap media narrative and draws a straight line from the libertarian thinkers in 1640's England to the Tea Party's core values of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets - and explains how Americans throughout our nation's history have suffered when these values are not upheld.

In addition, Leahy details the surprising, behind-the-scenes genesis of the Tea Party movement itself.

Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement is authentic, accurate, and a GREAT read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynn B. on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's really about the thought process and historical path that led to our Constitution followed by the path that various people, in authority, took to undermine it. It's detailed enough to follow the different paths that was followed to gain the understanding behind the Constitution but doesn't drag you into the weeds on different tangents. To be honest, it will make you mad to know, what we took for "normal" has only been a subversion of a Great Covenant between a Government and it's People. You'll understand where our beliefs of Independence came from and the encroachment of those beliefs. Take your time and read this thoroughly and you'll realize "We The People" have been asleep at the wheel. The (today's)Tea Party came about because of Government overreach. Obama wasn't the first and won't be the last because politician don't fear "We The People" they know if we're told what we want to here "we'll go along". The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution as a covenant between the People and the Government and they gave us the means to protect that covenant and we have failed.

Borrowed this from another reviewer (William T. Hennessy):

"You'll also be introduced to Leahy's 4-Promises theory. That theory holds that the Constitution is a covenant in which the government makes four promises in exchange for its existence, granted by the states and the people. Those four promises are:

- to abide by a written constitution and its "plain meaning"
- to refrain from interfering in private economic matters
- to honor the "fiscal constitution"
- to exercise thoughtful deliberation in Congress"
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