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Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America Paperback – November 28, 2000
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
A pathbreaking book. The American people finally have a definitive answer to the distortions about the founding that liberals have been pouring into the American mind since the 1960s. I recommend this book heartily. It belongs on every bookshelf and in every classroom in America. (Rush Limbaugh)
Vindicating the Founders is important but (relatively) easy. Learning from them is more difficult. This book helps us learn from Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison. And there aren't many better teachers about America. (William Kristol, editor, The Weekly Standard)
Compelling, accurate, closely reasoned, and entirely convincing. (Forrest McDonald, University of Alabama; author of We the People)
A valuable contribution to history and government studies on the founding. (Herman Belz, University of Maryland)
Vindicating the Founders is an eloquent defense of the principles of the American founding by one of its most learned students. (Dinesh D'Souza, American Enterprise Institute)
West is committed to understanding the American founders accurately and in their own terms. His work is unfailingly penetrating and trustworthy, and I eagerly seek it out. (Michael Novak, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, 1994 Templeton laureate)
A provocative and interesting book. (J. D. Born, Jr., Wichita State University)
Americans can count themselves fortunate to have at the bar a scholar of West's erudition, good sense, and tenacity. (The Weekly Standard)
West shows how textbooks charge the American Founders with not conforming to present-day standards of political correctness. He also shows how the Founders nevertheless deserve the admiration that they used to receive from teachers and school children many decades ago. West's arguments are convincing. (Leland B. Yeager, Auburn University)
Mr. West presents a compelling and well-researched history of the founding fathers and their motives in establishing a new nation. Most important, he challenges effectively the gross misrepresentation of the founding fathers based on presentistic and misleading political judgments. (Herb London, New York University)
There are important lessons in this book for political thinkers. . . . By challenging popular new ideas and reviving unfashionable old ones, Mr. West contributes to the process of reclaiming the founders. (The Washington Times)
It's hardly news that in our time some Americans have taken to accusing the Founders of their country of hypocrisy. There is something decidedly cheap about such charges. They reek of ingratitude and imprudence. But they are being made by historians who want to substitute their own authority for the Founders' and it is necessary for someone to take them seriously enough to provide a refutation. Thomas West has risen to the occasion with Vindicating the Founders. (The Wall Street Journal)
West has written a powerful vindication of our common civic faith. (Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College The American Enterprise)
With prosecutorial rigor and scholarly erudition, West defends the Founding Fathers and their creation―the American republic―from the relentless assault both have undergone in recent decades. . . . West's tightly argued book adresses a problem that should be a concern to all―namely, the attack on basic American principles. (Trenton Times)
A political scientist at the University of Dallas, West has given us a book that challenges the reigning orthodoxy as expressed by the high priests of multiculturalism. Those who reflexively reject his thesis―the nation's founding is the source of our greatness―have a moral and intellectual duty to refute him. (Society)
Provocative book. . . . Vindicating the Founders is not only about justice, but about how to cultivate the whole cluster of virtues which 'are necessary for a people to be free.' West's admirable study begins a discussion that is long overdue. (The Review of Politics)
Thomas West has written a courageous book. (Modern Age)
This defense of the founders with their own words and voices is closely reasoned, sharply focused, and highly convincing. . . . This is a superb book. The historical research is excellent, the analysis quite penetrating, and writing quite lucid. This book is rich with truth and wisdom. It deserves a wide audience. (Appelate Journal)
A persuasive case . . . stunningly bold. (William and Mary Quarterly)
West not only scolds those academics who denigrate the brilliance of the founders, he also exposes their shameful prejudice toward those great men who molded the liberties we enjoy today. (Indianapolis Star)
Top Customer Reviews
I hope to see more from Tom West.
Although I think he underplays the racism that was evident in their thoughts and behaviors, I believe he is correct in most of his conclusions and I learned quite a bit. It could be a conservative compliment to *Lies My Teacher Told Me* by James Loewen. For those who want to gather the true meaning of the what the USA was founded on, they could get no better book than this.
One of the most famous of the old canards that you will still hear is that the founders only considered slaves to be 3/5 of a human being because it says so right there in the Constitution. How sad that misunderstanding and misrepresentation is. Because each state was given a number of representatives based upon the number of residents, the issue was whom do you count. You have to first ask yourself whom the representatives from the slave holding states would represent. The slaves? Of course not!
So, if the rights of the slaves were not going to be protected, to give their slaveholders the ability to count those slaves as people and thereby become over-represented in Congress would actually work against interests of those people trapped in slavery. Those opposing slavery wanted the slaves to remain uncounted for representation. The slaveholders wanted them to count as a full person (does that mean the slaveholders cared about the human rights of the slaves more than the abolitionists?). The compromise was to count them as 3/5. However, it is essential to remember that those who wanted the slaves counted as a whole person were uninterested in the rights of those human beings and those that wanted them uncounted actually had the interests of the slaves more in mind.Read more ›
West's documentation is sound. His criticisms of other historians, even including of liberal ones such as Charles Beard and Gordon Wood, are on the mark, but will inevitably offend the vast majority of historians, who have built upon falsehoods they've derived from such historians.
This book is well organized, as a topic-by-topic critique of previous historians' misrepresentations of the supposed conservatism of people such as Thomas Jefferson -- whom, for example, West convincingly documents did believe in equal rights for Blacks and Whites, notwithstanding Gordon Woods's having asserted to the exact contrary.
Though Leo Strauss was an extreme conservative, West has provided here a book which argues, in a more thorough way than has previously been done, for interpreting the original intent of the U.S. Constitution as having been progressive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely well-documented and careful drawn outlines of the issues faced by the Founders in their era and with their understanding. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Acroamatic
It is a very well documented history of just what the founding fathers used to write the document and a look , based on their background at that time in history the accepted... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Clay Mallard
Vindicating the Founders makes clear that our Founding Fathers on the whole were indeed admirable and worthy of emulation. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr., Ph.D.
from the interview with the author on TV, I imagined more substantive speculation than he offered. Put it down and have yet to finish reading.Published on July 5, 2013 by JackB
Just what I needed. Came in good time for study before school started. Condition as desribed, no complaints for this book.Published on January 19, 2013 by AN-MI
This book is excellent! Everyone that wants to know what our Founding Fathers really thought should read this book. I highly recomend it. Read morePublished on April 15, 2012 by Deonte Reyes
I ordered this book for my daughter for a Summer Reading Request by her school. The book arrived exactly as presented on Amazon.com. Read morePublished on August 16, 2010 by Shelly K.
This is a FACTUAL and HONESTLY REASONED book. The negative reviewers obviously didn't really read the book, and are unaqainted with American history. Read morePublished on March 13, 2005 by Honest
Thomas West assembles a compact read in "Vindicating the Founders" that spiritedly challenges the modern critique of America's Founders. Read morePublished on September 18, 2004 by Chuck DeVore