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We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1935191674
ISBN-10: 1935191675
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Editorial Reviews


 The future of liberty depends on renewing America’s principles

In the midst of frenzied efforts to remake our nation—of endless government initiatives involved in virtually every aspect of our daily lives—Americans are increasingly concerned: How did we get so far off track? And how can we get America back on course? Matthew Spalding answers these questions by looking to the timeless principles and practical wisdom that have been the source of America’s monumental success. Spalding, an expert in American political history at The Heritage Foundation, the esteemed research and educational institution, calls for a great renewal of these unchanging principles—and a new appreciation of their preeminent status in our nation’s life.

 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.

We Still Hold These Truths also offers a bracingly fresh analysis of how and why we have lost our bearings as a nation. Spalding masterfully examines the progressive assault on the Founders’ principles that began more than a century ago and that continues—indeed, is accelerating—in our time. Modern political leaders and cultural elites have all too readily abandoned the principles to which America is dedicated; even more troubling is how readily we all let it happen. Do we still hold these truths? Before we can rededicate our country to the core principles that made America the most prosperous, the strongest, and the freest nation in history, we must rediscover them ourselves. They must become again, as Thomas Jefferson said, “an expression of the American mind.” In a world of moral confusion, and of arbitrary and unlimited government, America’s principles are our best access to permanent truths and the best ground from which to question the current direction of our nation. Upon this sure foundation, Spalding lays out a strategy to reclaim our future, and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Matthew Spalding
is the director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at The Heritage Foundation. An expert on political history, constitutionalism, and religious liberty in America, he is the executive editor of the bestselling book The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and the author or editor of three other works. Spalding, who holds a Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School, lives with his family in northern Virginia.


A clear and compelling case for America’s founding principles as an enduring source of real, practical guidance for today, explaining how we got so far off track and laying out how to get our nation back on course.”

William J. Bennett, bestselling author of America: The Last Best Hope and nationally syndicated radio host

 “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty. But what are those essentials? And where do we get them from? Matthew Spalding, both a scholar and Knight Templar of American constitutionalism, is uniquely qualified not only to shed light on these questio

ns but also to slay the intellectual dragons pitted against our Republic. This is vital armament in the battle for constitutional restoration.”

Jonah Goldberg, editor at large, National Review Online

“In his splendid new book, Matthew Spalding provides a spirited defense of the truths asserted by our Founders when they conceived the American republic. Combining the skills of the historian, the philosopher, and the political scientist, Spalding shows why Americans in our time should be no less confident than our forebears in holding these truths, and no less forceful in asserting them.”

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, PrincetonUniversity.

 “This book recovers the timeless truths on which our self-governing nation was founded and which made America the model of human freedom. These first principles are the indispensable guides policy makers need now.”

Paul Ryan, United States Congress

“At a time when the very freedoms we so recently fought and died for are being challenged on every front, Spalding’s robust defense of America’s universal principles reminds us why the United States must always be the champion of liberty, and why the self-evident truths it proclaims still inspire all those yearning to live free.”

Mart Laar, former prime minister of Estonia

 “With his trademark clarity and considerable eloquence, Spalding explains and extols our country’s principles and tells us why the way forward depends on reclaiming them. We Still Hold These Truths is must reading for every American.”

Mitt Romney

Book Description

“Invaluable . . . The book that Americans need now.” —National Review

The Essential Guide to Rolling Back the Progressive Assault and Putting America Back on Course

Many Americans are concerned, frightened, angry. The country, it seems, is on the wrong track.

But what is the right course for America? Knowing what we stand against is not the same as knowing what we stand for.

Just in time, Matthew Spalding provides the plan for translating angst into proper action in this essential book—a #2 Washington Post bestseller. We Still Hold These Truths offers a bracing analysis of how and why we have lost our bearings as a nation and lays out the strategy to rescue our future from arbitrary and unlimited government.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935191675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935191674
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well-written, thoughtful and very timely book that I believe every American would do well to read, regardless of political persuasion. Whether you're liberal or conservative, you will learn something about the history of American political ideas, and you'll learn a lot about how profoundly different our government is today from the American government of the 1787 Constitution. You'll encounter scores of amazing quotes from the Founders and 20th century figures that you've probably never heard.

The book focuses on ten principles: Liberty, Equality, Natural Rights, Consent of the Governed, Religious Freedom, Private Property, the Rule of Law, Constitutionalism, Self-Government, and Independence. It concludes with two chapters -- The New Republic, which describes the ideas of the Progressive movement, and American Renewal, which makes the case for a return to the ideas of the American Revolution.

The author, Matthew Spalding, is associated with the Heritage Foundation. This may cause many on the Left to dismiss the book without reading it, and many on the Right to expect another conservative manifesto, but both of them would be wrong. If you read this book, you will have a better appreciation of the history and evolution of ideas that gave us the government we have today. In The New Republic, Spalding does a remarkable job of connecting the dots from the new thinking about relativism and human nature in 1900 to the New Deal, Great Society, public education, and the role of the judiciary, in a single chapter.

You will gain from reading about the Founders' idea of natural rights, and the Progressives' very different idea of rights that should be guaranteed by government. These different ideas are at the basis of many political debates and conflicts.
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A prodigious work communicating the foundation of our American society and government. Although I've had the opportunity to read just the first two chapters, I find its style and substance enriching.

For me, so far, this book clearly explained: The Founders believed our rights do not emanate from our great Constitution, but pre-date that work. They are not directly from the great documents of Great Britain. Indeed, they do not come from this or that legal document at all (an easy mindset to adopt in America and the West). Instead, the author illustrates how our rights are Natural Rights springing from our human nature. And, that the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle all to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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Format: Hardcover
"We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future" by Matthew Spalding is a must-read for every American who wishes to return a great nation to its true principles.

Spalding, the Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at the Heritage Foundation with a doctorate in government from Claremont Graduate School, has written a beautiful, yet melancholy book. His prose is exceptional, his command of history impressive. In only 239 pages Spalding illuminates the principles of the American founding, how we took those principles for granted and began to lose them, and why we need to "reclaim" those principles.

Spalding crisply sets out the essential foundations of America's beginnings in "We Still Hold These Truths," taking 186 pages to set out in nine chapters the basis of what some still rightly call "American Exceptionalism."

Chapter One, "A New Nation, Conceived in Liberty: The Roots of American Freedom," explains the American concept of liberty, how Revolutionary-era Americans practiced it, and who and what they drew upon for inspiration (the Bible, practical experience, and Locke's "Two Treatises of Government").

Chapter Two, "We Hold These Truths: Equality, Natural Rights, and the Consent of the Governed," sets the historical and philosophical stage for the Declaration of Independence, something that its primary author, Thomas Jefferson said was simply "an expression of the American mind." The Declaration uses Natural Law as justification for equal rights. Writing of the soon to be independent colonists, Jefferson said the Americans claimed "their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their Chief Magistrate (the king).
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There is no book I have seen that better explains the theological, philosophical, historical, and political roots for the creation by the Founders of the American Constitution and the U.S. government than "We Still Hold These Truths." Anyone who has any interest in understanding and maintaining the freedom and prosperity that has characterized America for the past 200+ years needs to read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are looking to better understand the meaning of the "Declaration of Independence" and "The Constitution," especially the way it's authors intended it to interpreted, "We Still Hold These Truths" is the book for you. The book is a well written, easily understandable look at a vitally important subject, whose meaning is invariably twisted by liberal and so called conservative leaders alike. Going back to the Constitution's foundational principles contained in "The Ten Commandments," that were championed by our wise, God fearing forefathers could turn the woes of the nation around. The self evident, unchanging truths found in Scripture, "The Declaration of Independence" and "Constitution" are what enabled The United States to become the shinning light to the rest of the world that it became. Matthew Spalding substantiates his arguments with many quotes from the document's writers, which give insight into the wisdom and moral integrity of these men. He also discusses the founder's views on the tough issue of slavery. How we treated the Indians wasn't mentioned, but Westward expansion had not taken place at that time, while slavery was a huge issue in the light of founder's contention that "all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights." This book will give you a deep appreciation for not only our founding fathers and the enlightened documents they wrote, but for our Godly history as well. I also very much appreciated the moral integrity I saw in the author's own personal beliefs, which were presented in a gentle, not heavy handed manner.
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