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The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America Hardcover – April 8, 2014
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Gordon Wood, Brown University, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
The Once and Future King deals with constitutional issues at a more serious level than almost anything else I have read recently. The prose, moreover, is elegant and flowing. This is a beautifully written, very interesting, and largely persuasive book.
Philip Hamburger, Columbia Law School, author of Separation of Church and State
The book is immensely enjoyable to read and to think about. It’s a bracing read, in every way.
Sanford V. Levinson, University of Texas School of Law, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)
This is a bold and willfully provocative critique of American presidential power, how and why it got to be that way, and what we can do to change it. Buckley takes no prisoners in his trip back to the American founding, with forays into the British and Canadian political systems, questioning all the conventional pieties and received wisdom along the way. If history truly is an argument without end, this is a new entry in the debate.
Joseph J. Ellis, Mt. Holyoke, author of Founding Brothers and Revolutionary Summer
The Once and Future King is a work of virtuoso scholarshipbold, iconoclastic, and practical-minded in the spirit of the Framers themselves.
Christopher DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Employing a prose style that is taut and deft, Buckley takes us through the debates over the ratification of the Constitution to show us what the Founders intended, what they did not, and how their principles--which envisioned the Congress dominating the federal government--have been transmogrified into one-man rule.
Worse, Buckley argues convincingly that much of this distortion of the Founder's intentions is virtually irreversible today. Indeed, most Americans appear not only to have acquiesced in, but also to cherish, "Crown government."
But there is a way back, Buckley argues, and the task of recovery, not surprisingly, lies with the Congress itself. Buckley offers readers a number of solid, practical reforms that Congress has both the right and duty to adopt--if it ever decides to reclaim the esteem and power it has lost.
All friends of liberty must hope that the Congress, and the American people, follow Buckley's road map to recovery.
While reading the first four chapters of this book I was not quite sure where the author was going with this line of thought. Chapter five does a masterful job of linking the thrust of the book together pointing out that Britain, Canada and the United States current political systems come from the same root but took three different paths of political organization. Each has ended up in the same place with centralization of real power in one person.
While he offers some solutions, it is mentioned that throughout history, once power is grated to a certain position it is difficult for that position to give, or share that power. There is a brief mention of the influence of social media and changes in technology. I feel there was a missed opportunity to expound on the influence of global communications with the instant sharing of data AND identification of ‘enemies’ to the incumbent retaining that power.
Reading about the struggles and fears that went into the design of our US Constitution by our Founding Fathers, allowed me to appreciate their genius. They seemed to know what could actually happen centuries later. In one early passage author Buckley writes, "George Mason, who complained at the Philadelphia Convention that a popularly elected president would `degenerate' into an `elective monarchy,' which would be worse than the real thing." This sets the tone for the entire book.
The erosion of Congressional powers, the increase of Presidential powers, and the Supreme Court's failure to police the balance of power has placed too much authority in the office of the President. Buckley, a professor at George Mason University School of Law, refers to this as Crown Government, and then he walks the reader through the gradual increase of presidential dominance. Today our president has granted himself the power to enforce or not enforce any law or to delay its implementation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a very good overview of the history of how American, British and Canadian governments evolved. Read morePublished 2 months ago by PilotPatriot
Clear-eyed and insightful analysis. Essential reading as the Article V convention movement's momentum increases.Published 2 months ago by Edgar
I enjoyed the book but it wasn't what I expected. That's my fault and not the fault of the author. I really thought this would be more heavily weighted on how forces in American... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mark Sutter
This book outlines the very clear and present danger to liberty of presidential regimes like our own. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rushad Thomas
It ranks with a like volume in its boldness and in the VOLUME of its supporting material. The like volume which readers of this book would enjoy immensely is THE ROYALIST... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jack Sember Lewis
Excellent read. Very informative. An added value was that it is written by a Canadian living in America.Published 24 months ago by Tom Z.
An interesting book that could have been much shorter and just as effective. Glad I bought it. I will skim it then use as a reference.Published on August 11, 2014 by So Cal