- Hardcover: 278 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan (March 20, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0025003704
- ISBN-13: 978-0025003705
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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We Hold These Truths: Understanding the Ideas and Ideals of the Constitution
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From Library Journal
Adler aims to clarify the roles of the citizen under the U.S. Constitution. He describes relations between citizens and government in terms of Constitutional goals: those that have been attained and those, such as justice and equality, that in his view remain unrealized. Adler philosophically examines the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and the Constitution's Preamble. He explores in detail key questions underlying the Constitution along with key words and passages of the text. This highly readable work will help all citizens with their own examination of Constitutional principles. Steven Puro, Political Science Dept., St. Louis Univ.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
''The most succinct, accessible publication about the Constitution.'' --Wall Street Journal
''This highly readable work will help all citizens with their own examination of Constitutional principles.'' --Library Journal
''Jeff Riggenbach . . . does his duty . . . [reading] in a clear, pleasant voice.'' --Audiofile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Once he gets past that, he digresses off into the notion that the framers were only concerned with people having political liberty and not economic liberty, which he, Mortimer Adler is happy to correct for them by explaining how this grave shortcoming has been and should continue to be corrected. From that point on it becomes an argument for progressivism and really, socialism.
He argues that the framers created a democracy despite the well-known conviction of the framers that they had created a republic. It is easy to play the wise statesman who now chides the founders for blundering into creating the framework for what is arguably the most successful experiment in self-government in human history and telling them that they just did not really understand what it was they authored. Wow, this man’s arrogance is something.
In the final chapter, “What remains to be done?” he does not purport to make any recommendations; he just asks a series of questions. For example, should we abolish the Electoral College; should we attempt to enact a Bill of Economic Rights as proposed by Franklin Roosevelt; should we set severe limits to funding of all electoral campaigns? I think you can see that this is ultimately an attempt to sell progressivism. It was written thirty years ago (1987) so he has the luxury of not having to defend the many failures of progressive policies enacted in the last hundred years.
The introduction to this book is written by Harry Blackmun, author of the Roe v. Wade opinion of the Supreme Court. That opinion ignored the ideal of the Declaration of Independence that it is a self-evident truth that all are created equal and entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. If nothing else, progressives are good at babble and blither while ignoring all things conflicting with their worldview.
If you choose to read this book, understand that 17 of the first 18 chapters are pretty good. After that, I suggest you skip to the appendix beginning on page 195 where he includes excerpts from some historical documents such as notes from the Constitutional Convention and the Federalist Papers.
Whole the book was written for bicentennial of 1976, the teachings on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address are all applicable for today.
Ever wonder what was meant by some of the phrases in the founding documents of the United States? Mortimer Adler carefully analyzes the texts of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Gettysburg Address to show where common themes lie and help identify the ideals to which any constituional country should aspire. This well written book moves quickly and the arguments put forth are clear and concise. Mr. Adler provides an education every American should absorb and live
* his knowledge of history, and particularly US history, is wan at best
* his sense of the distinction between nation and government is passing at best
* his understanding of constitutional history and rule of law is weak
Sadly it is very clear that the text was hastily written -- as he was in a hurry to publish this, complete with erroneous assumptions and conclusions by the time of the US Constitution bicentennial, so that that Mr. Adler made no effort to correct these defects in his own understanding.
The book offers positively tortured reading of the text in the US Constitution, designed clearly and purposefully to excuse and pardon the three branches of National government operating in the US at the time for clear violations of the written constitution.
The book does serve as a lovely example of efforts to analyze documents in the context of the historical origins of the documents, without any attendant effort being made to read or understand in any deep way anything about those origins.