Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Original Constitution: What it Actually Said and Meant - 2nd Edition Paperback – May 17, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Robert G. Natelson is one of America's best-known constitutional scholars. He served as a law professor for 25 years, and has written for some of the world's leading legal publishers. He is now Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Natelson argues that the Constitution is a legal document, drafted by some of the smartest legal minds of the founding era, and debated during the ratification process by other equally brilliant founders to establish assurances about what was meant and intended by the words of the document. The explanations in the Federalist Papers and the notes taken during the convention all provide part of the basis for interpreting the Constitution. In addition, he argues, that the ideas and thoughts of the of the founding era exemplified by the education of the founders, and the ancient histories as they were known to the Constitution authors helped to shape the meaning of individual clauses in the document. The fact that most of the founders had some familiarity with Latin, Greek and English Common Law established a background upon which the Constitution authors drew. Without this background modern interpreters a libel to make an error. This common background helped to create a succinct document that did not need pages of explanation to convey meaning.
Anyone who wants of understand the meaning and intent of the Constitution need this book in their reference library.
Many constitutional issues are covered, but most important to me is one that is usually overlooked in other books on the Constitution - the fundamental Founding principle that government is a public trust wherein public officials have a fiduciary duty to treat citizens as impartially as possible, without favoritism or discrimination (pages 24-25 & 156-157). Governmental impartiality is one of the core values of American Exceptionalism and it is amazing that such a fundamental principle has largely been forgotten, both in public attitudes about government and in scholarly work. For this issue alone, Professor Natelson is to be commended for his work to raise public awareness. Imagine how different our government and society would be if governmental impartiality guided its actions instead of patronage and cronyism.
Also discussed is the unique tradition which America inherited from the British that legal restrictions apply not just to citizens, but to government and government officials as well (page 15) and that more than two-thirds of the Constitution addresses the task of making government act in compliance with law (page 18) and the people’s inalienable rights.
The book concludes with the author stating that in no realistic sense is the original Constitution still in effect, even as formally amended, in part because Supreme Court rulings have permitted federal officials to break out of their constitutional confined restrictions while increasingly imposing restrictions on what was supposed to be the broader authority of state government (page 223).
For those interested in history and for those who are interested in considering different political principles, “The Original Constitution” is a good introduction into what was once America’s unique system of government.
I really like it in that it can be used as a reference book and not have to be read from the front to the back.
I strongly recommend it for anyone who is serious about learning what the Constitution really says and being able to pass on accurate interpretation of the words and meanings and intent.