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The Original Constitution: What it Actually Said and Meant - 2nd Edition Paperback – May 17, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
This excellent book may be summarized with three main points:
1) The U.S. Constitution would not have been ratified without many specific assurances by the Federalists about the actual meanings of many of the constitution's clauses. Invariably those concerns were about the constitution being interpreted to give too much power to the central government or deny it to the states and the people. The Federalists responded by promising that the Anti-Federalists' suspicions of too much power to the central government would never happen, using arguments that stressed the established social and legal traditions and the clear meanings of the words used. Nine of thirteen states ratified the Constitution on condition of those Federalist assurances.
2) Those Federalist assurances (i.e., the Federalists' written, promised meanings of the constitution) are well known to us via the writings of the times and the documentations of the Federalists and of the ratification conventions.
3) The American people and the states have surrendered their powers to the Federal Government, mostly during and since the New Deal, essentially in the ways the Anti-Federalists had feared and warned about.
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK
In the Preface and Chapters 1 and 2, Natelson gives a very enlightening tour of: 1) the background of 1789 society, 2) core political values, and 3) rules of legal construction (Latin maxims).
1 Background of the 1789 Society
This background included people's inherent interest in legal, theological, political, historical, and philosophical topics (e.g., theology and law were the first and second most common books in libraries.Read more ›
It provides a great foundation for understand how and why the Framers and Ratifiers wrote and accepted the Constitution. There is great care taken at the beginning to set the stage as to how they thought and the legal history leading up to the drafting and ratification. I will use the book as a reference for the rest of my life. I hope Part II, The Amendments, is soon to follow. I'm especially interested in the 14th Amendment.
This book should be truthfully advertised as a Federalist, big central govt view of the Constitution (though the author does mention the anti-Federalist position a few times to give apparent 'balance'). It is the deception as to 'balance' which I most disagreeable about this book.
The book 'The Hologram of Liberty' by Kenneth Royce presents a quite different viewpoint, but its author admits it.
Bio: Rob Natelson is one of America's best-known constitutional scholars. For 23 years, he served as Professor of Law at the University of Montana, where he taught Constitutional Law and became a recognized national expert on the framing and adoption of the United States Constitution. He pioneered the use of source material, such as important Founding-Era law books, overlooked by other writers, and he has been the first to uncover key facts about some of the most significant parts of the Constitution.
Rob has written for some of the most prestigious academic publishers, including Cambridge University Press, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and Texas Law Review.
You can read some of his latest works at: [...]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rob Natleson provides a really intimate look at how the Constitution of the United States originally meant. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Having studied constitutional history for several years, I found “The Original Constitution” to be informative and interesting. Read morePublished 10 months ago by RJM
This work is a well researched and well written masterpiece that is both very timely and well footnoted and referenced to supporting documentation. The author, R. Read morePublished on March 25, 2014 by John L. Runft
This is an excellent read. The book is very well referenced and filled with the common legal interpretations of the time as well as discussions between all the parties involved. Read morePublished on October 20, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I highly recommend this book as an essential learning tool for a better understanding of the Constitution. Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by Avid Reader
If you would like to know more of what the founders, framers and ratifiers designed and why they did each item then this is the book for you.Published on September 2, 2013 by Mangus Colorado
It is a boring read but if you want to know our constitution, or you would like your kids to know about it, this is the book to buy.Published on September 1, 2013 by Marty E
This is information we all need to know. Not the perverted things they tell us today that they are meticulously disassembling.Published on June 13, 2013 by biggieman