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The 5000 Year Leap Paperback – 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read this book back in the mid 1980s shortly after it was first published. It had such a profound effect on me that I can still recall where I was when I was reading it. That is rather amazing as I have I have probably read about 1600 books since then.
I was excited to see that it had recently been republished as my original copy is pretty ragged. It was great to reread it and brush up on the great ideas contained in it.
The premise of the book is that because of the free market system that took root after our Constitution was enacted, the United States literally made a 5000 year leap of progress in the time since then. The author, W. Cleon Skousen, discussed the changes from the time of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the early 1980s when the book was written. In discussing Jamestown, he said: "The most striking thing about the settlers of Jamestown was their startling similarity to the ancient pioneers who built settlements in other parts of the world 5,000 years earlier. The whole panorama of Jamestown demonstrated how shockingly little progress had been made by man during all of those fifty centuries."
He went on to say, "The settlers of Jamestown had come in a boat no larger and no more commodious than those of the ancient sea kings. Their tools still consisted of shovel, axe, hoe, and a stick plow which were only slightly improved over those of China, Egypt, Persia, and Greece. They harvested their grain and hay-grass with the same primitive scythes ..."
He then discussed the Constitution that was developed by the Founders. It took 180 years for them to put it all together from the beginning of Jamestown in 1607 to the enactment of the U.S.Read more ›
This book lays out 28 principles with which the Founding Fathers tried to integrate into the Constitution. It seems that over 50% of the book is actually quotes by the Founding Fathers themselves, allowing it to do a great job of showing the reader what they actually meant and not just what the author thinks they meant. This book is a must-have for any American history fan or any individual who studies politics. I would recommend it to everyone, though.
Above all they were academicians in every aspect of the word... but also they actually felt individually responsible not only for what they were doing but for each and every word they uttered or wrote in regards to the archival evidence they understood they were creating for the new Government. Something you won't find in any politician today.
An easy read, very enjoyable and ultimately educational. Be careful, you may actually learn something you didn't know.
I found the historical material the most interesting, but every time I read the views and conclusions, I felt the need to check the facts. Somehow it seemed that Dr. Skousen was bending the story. I may be off-base here, or I may not. It has inspired me to do more research.
I had two problems specifically. Skousen's concept of good government, which he says he shares with the Founders, is to seek a balance between anarchy, which he equivocates with chaos, and tyranny. To me that sounds like halfway to tyranny, and doesn't help differentiate between the activities where government arguably has a role, and those in which it doesn't.
He takes to heart the purpose of government as described in the Declaration of Independence, but I still felt an authoritarian streak running through the book.
I think the Founders model was to get as close as possible to liberty, and keep the federal government as small as possible, leaving all else to the people or the states. It may sound like a small semantic difference, but the idea of seeking a balance between pure liberty and pure tyranny is a lot different than staying as close to pure liberty as possible.
My other problem was his notion that the part of natural law that is political law is not discovered but revealed. I believe he is saying that the laws which are used to govern human behavior have been revealed by God, through scripture, and are not discovered through experiment as are the laws of physics. He quotes Blackstone on this. I am uncomfortable with this idea, and plan to read more of Blackstone's work to see for myself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best explanation of the miracle of our government's founding.
It should be a required textbook.
I loved learning the truth and the facts behind why our Founding Fathers set up our system of laws the way they did. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Christine from Gilbert, AZ
This is a great book,but it is written in a very "scholarly" style which takes serious study and focus to understand.Published 8 days ago by Isabell
I give this book as a gift for high
school graduates. It helps them understand the amazing government the founders created for us; unfortunately it also makes one realize that... Read more
This is an important book for any true student of history. You will learn not just what the founding fathers did but why and what their thinking was at the time. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A G Jackson