[jbox color=”platinum” shadow=”2″ width=”490″ content_css=”font-size: 18px; color:#306262; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;”]Books in Print[/jbox]
The Federalist Papers
by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
The Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, brilliantly defend what was in their day a revolutionary charter–the Constitution of the United States. The Federalist Papers explain the complexities of a constitutional government its political structure and principles based on the inherent rights of man. Scholars have long regarded this work as a milestone in political science and a classic of American political theory.
Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787
by Catherine Drinker Bowen
Miracle at Philadelphia is Catherine Drinker Bowen’s classic history of the Federal Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, the stormy, dramatic session that produced the most enduring of political documents – the Constitution of the United States.
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
by Joseph Ellis
An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic — John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.
During the 1790s, which Ellis calls the most decisive decade in our nation’s history, the greatest statesmen of their generation — and perhaps of any — came together to define the new republic and direct its course for the coming centuries. Ellis focuses on six discrete moments that exemplify the most crucial issues facing the fragile new nation: Burr and Hamilton’s deadly duel, and what may have really happened; Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison’s secret dinner, during which the seat of the permanent capital was determined in exchange for passage of Hamilton’s financial plan; Franklin’s petition to end the “peculiar institution” of slavery — his last public act — and Madison’s efforts to quash it; Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, announcing his retirement from public office and offering his country some final advice; Adams’s difficult term as Washington’s successor and his alleged scheme to pass the presidency on to his son; and finally, Adams and Jefferson’s renewed correspondence at the end of their lives, in which they compared their different views of the Revolution and its legacy.
In a lively and engaging narrative, Ellis recounts the sometimes collaborative, sometimes archly antagonistic interactions between these men, and shows us the private characters behind the public personas: Adams, the ever-combative iconoclast, whose closest political collaborator was his wife, Abigail; Burr, crafty, smooth, and one of the most despised public figures of his time; Hamilton, whose audacious manner and deep economic savvy masked his humble origins; Jefferson, renowned for his eloquence, but so reclusive and taciturn that he rarely spoke more than a few sentences in public; Madison, small, sickly, and paralyzingly shy, yet one of the most effective debaters of his generation; and the stiffly formal Washington, the ultimate realist, larger-than-life, and America’s only truly indispensable figure.
Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine
by Glenn Beck
“If you believe it’s time to put principles above parties, character above campaign promises, and Common Sense above all — then I ask you to read this book….”
In any era, great Americans inspire us to reach our full potential. They know with conviction what they believe within themselves. They understand that all actions have consequences. And they find commonsense solutions to the nation’s problems. One such American, Thomas Paine, was an ordinary man who changed the course of history by penning Common Sense, the concise 1776 masterpiece in which, through extraordinarily straightforward and indisputable arguments, he encouraged his fellow citizens to take control of America’s future — and, ultimately, her freedom.
Nearly two and a half centuries later, those very freedoms once again hang in the balance. And now, Glenn Beck revisits Paine’s powerful treatise with one purpose: to galvanize Americans to see past government’s easy solutions, two-part monopoly, and illogical methods and take back our great country. A copy of Thomas Paine’s original Common Sense is included.
His Excellency: George Washington
by Joseph Ellis
Drawing from the newly catalogued Washington papers at the University of Virginia, Joseph Ellis paints a full portrait of George Washington’s life and career-from his military years through his two terms as president. Ellis illuminates the difficulties the first executive confronted as he worked to keep the emerging country united in the face of adversarial factions. He richly details Washington’s private life and illustrates the ways in which it influenced his public persona. Through Ellis’s artful narration, we look inside Washington’s marriage and his subsequent entrance into the upper echelons of Virginia’s plantation society. We come to understand that it was by managing his own large debts to British merchants that he experienced firsthand the imperiousness of the British Empire. And we watch the evolution of his attitude toward slavery, which led to his emancipating his own slaves in his will. Throughout, Ellis peels back the layers of myth and uncovers for us Washington in the context of eighteenth-century America, allowing us to comprehend the magnitude of his accomplishments and the character of his spirit and mind.
In the pantheon of our republic’s founders, there were many outstanding individuals. And yet each of them-Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison- acknowledged Washington to be his superior, the only indispensable figure, the one and only “His Excellency.” Both physically and politically, Washington towered over his peers for reasons this book elucidates. His Excellency is a full, glorious, and multifaceted portrait of the man behind our country’s genesis, sure to become the authoritative biography of George Washington for many decades.
The Real Benjamin Franklin: The True Story of America’s Greatest Diplomat, Vol. 2
by Andrew M. Allison, W. Cleon Skousen, and M. Richard Maxfield
There are many Benjamin Franklins. Or at least he has taken on many different forms in the history books and conversations of the last two centuries. Some historians have shown us an aged statesman whose wise and steadying influence kept the Constitutional Convention together in 1787, while others have pictured a chuckling prankster who couldn’t resist a funny story. More recently, a certain brand of biographers and journalists have conjured up sensational tales of a lecherous old diplomat in his seventies who enjoyed illicit affairs with adoring young French women. And a few years ago Franklin even reappeared as a British spy! Some of these myths are now being repeated and embellished in school textbooks and educational television programs.
Which of all these Benjamin Franklins, if any, is real? This book is an attempt to answer that question. Or, more accurately, it is an attempt to let Franklin himself provide the answer. The Real Benjamin Franklin makes no effort to develop another fresh interpretation of the Sage of Philadelphia. Instead, it seats us across the table from the one person who really knew Benjamin Franklin- -that is, Franklin himself- -and gives him an opportunity to explain his life and ideas in his own words. Part I of this book details his exciting biography, and Part II includes his most important and insightful writings. In both sections, Franklin’s words are carefully documented from original sources.
The Real George Washington
by Jay A. Parry and Andrew M. Allison
Why, after two centuries, does George Washington remain one of the most beloved figures in our history? The Real George Washington answers that question by giving us a close look at this man who became the “father of our country” and the first American President. But rather than focus on the interpretations of historians, the book tells much of his exciting story in his own words.
In Part I you’ll meet a man who —
1. lost his father at age 11 and nearly joined the British navy at 15.
2. was ambushed in the French and Indian War , receiving bullets through his coat and hat but escaping without injury.
3. held together a destitute army through the long and terrible winter at Valley Forge.
4. resisted plans to make him king and an army plot to take over the government.
5. made the Constitutional Convention credible by his presence and helped win ratification of the Constitution by his support.
6. sacrificed his desire for a quiet retirement to serve as the first President, and, while serving, set a valuable precedent of constitutional governance .
Part II of the book brings together the most important and insightful passages from Washington’s writings, conveniently arranged in alphabetical order by subject matter.
The Real Thomas Jefferson
by Andrew M. Allison, W. Cleon Skousen, M. Richard Maxfield, and K. Delynn Cook
Jefferson is the central figure in American history, and…he may yet prove to be the central figure in modern history. So stated noted historian Henry Steele Commager. And as the English novelist Samuel Butler once wrote, Though God cannot alter the past, historians can. His observation is especially applicable to our changing perceptions of great historical personalities, most of whom are relentlessly reinterpreted by each new generation of biographers. It is doubtful whether many of these renowned characters of yesteryear would even recognize themselves in some of the publications devoted to them today.
There is no better example of this kind of metamorphosis than Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States. Since his death in 1826 he has been alternately vilified and deified in numerous forms by writers of varying motivations. In The Real Thomas Jefferson, by allowing Jefferson to explain his life and ideas in his own words, we have tried to ensure that his spirit, not ours, will breathe in these pages- -so that all who read them will become acquainted with Jefferson himself, not another second-hand interpretation of him. His biography appears in Part I, and Part II brings together the most insightful passages from his writings, arranged by subject.
Washington‘s Crossing (Pivotal Moments in America’s History)
by David Hackett Fischer (winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History)
Six months after the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was all but lost. A powerful British force had routed the Americans at New York, occupied three colonies, and advanced within sight of Philadelphia. George Washington lost ninety percent of his army and was driven across the Delaware River. Panic and despair spread through the states.
Yet, as David Hackett Fischer recounts in this riveting history, Washington-and many other Americans-refused to let the Revolution die. Even as the British and Germans spread their troops across New Jersey, the people of the colony began to rise against them. George Washington saw his opportunity and seized it. On Christmas night, as a howling nor’easter struck the Delaware Valley, he led his men across the river and attacked the exhausted Hessian garrison at Trenton, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men. A second battle of Trenton followed within days. The Americans held off a counterattack by Lord Cornwallis’s best troops, then were almost trapped by the British force. Under cover of night, Washington’s men stole behind the enemy and struck them again, defeating a brigade at Princeton. The British were badly shaken. In twelve weeks of winter fighting, their army suffered severe damage, their hold on New Jersey was broken, and their strategy was ruined.
Fischer’s richly textured narrative reveals the crucial role of contingency in these events. We see how the campaign unfolded in a sequence of difficult choices by many actors, from generals to civilians, on both sides. While British and German forces remained rigid and hierarchical, Americans evolved an open and flexible system that was fundamental to their success. At the same time, they developed an American ethic of warfare that John Adams called “the policy of humanity,” and showed that moral victories could have powerful material effects. The startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning, in a pivotal moment for American history.
The 5,000 Year Leap: Principles of Freedom 101
by W. Cleon Skousen
Discover the 28 Principles of Freedom our Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desire peace, prosperity, and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5,000 years.
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution
by Edwin Meese III
This guide is the first of its kind, and presents the U.S. Constitution as never before, including a clause-by-clause analysis of the document, each amendment and relevant court case, and the documents that serve as the foundation of the Constitution.
In Living Constitution, Dying Faith, political scientist and legal historian Bradley Watson examines how the contemporary embrace of the “living” Constitution has arisen from the radical transformation of American political thought. This transformation, brought about in the late nineteenth century by the philosophies of social Darwinism and pragmatism, explains how and why contemporary jurisprudence is so alien to the constitutionalism of the American Founders. To understand why today’s courts rule the way they do, one must start with the ideas exposed by and explained in Watson’s timely tome.
Living Constitution, Dying Faith: Progressivism and the New Science of Jurisprudence (American Ideals & Institutions)
by Bradley C. S. Watson
Today’s view–rooted in progressivism–is not simply that we have an interpretable Constitution, but that we have a Constitution which must be interpreted in light of “historically situated,” continually evolving notions of the individual, the state, and society. This modern historical approach has been embraced by the judicial appointees of both Democratic and Republican presidents, by both liberals and conservatives, for a century or more. Living Constitution, Dying Faith shows how such an approach has directly undermined Americans’ faith in a limited Constitution-as well as their faith in the eternal verities.
The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution
by W. Cleon Skousen
The follow-up book to the 5,000 Year Leap. Written in the form of a high school textbook, it unfolds the surprising background and the original meaning of our federal Constitution and shows how the Founders used these concepts to produce the strongest, most prosperous nation on earth.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution
by Kevin Gutzman
In The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, readers will follow the Supreme Court as it uses the Constitution as a fig leaf to cover its blatant seizing of the people’s right to govern themselves through elections. Gutzman unveils the radical inconsistency between constitutional law and the rule of law, and shows why and how the Supreme Court should be reined in to the proper role assigned to it by the Founders.
A Patriot’s History of the U.S.: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror
by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen
For the past three decades, many history professors have allowed their biases to distort the way America’s past is taught. These intellectuals have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America’s patriots and the achievements of “dead white men.” As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington; more about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II than about D-Day or Iwo Jima; more on the dangers we faced from Joseph McCarthy than those we faced from Josef Stalin.
A Patriot’s History of the United States corrects those doctrinaire biases. In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.
Shut Up, America!: The End of Free Speech
by Brad O’Leary
Can you be trusted with free speech? Many politicians in Washington don’t think so. They see your right to free speech as a threat to their seat in power. In this hard-hitting book, bestselling author Brad O’Leary exposes the frightening movement afoot that would eviscerate the First Amendment. With his trademark, take-no-prisoners approach, O’Leary shows you how censorship is on the march. From the Orwellian “Fairness Doctrine” to so-called “campaign finance reform,” you will learn the real threats, who the enemies of Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine are (including names of senators, congressmen, and Obama administration officials), what they’re up to, and how you can fight back and save your freedom.
The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration: Principles and Challenges in America
by Edward J. Erler, Tom West, and John Marini
Working with the underlying premise that America’s founding principles continue to be vital in the modern era, Erler, Marini, and West take a conservative look at immigration, one of today’s most pressing political issues. Character the capacity to live a life befitting republican citizens is, as the Founders knew, crucial to the debate about immigration. The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration seeks to revive the issue of republican character in the current immigration debate and to elucidate the constitutional foundations of American citizenship.
[jbox color=”platinum” shadow=”2″ width=”490″ content_css=”font-size: 18px; color:#306262; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;”]e-Books[/jbox]
Important note: There are several sites that have extensive collections of primary source documents, the full texts, online, including books. While we WILL be adding a number of titles here to particularly recommend them, be sure to check our Primary Sources page for links to those sites.
Hillsdale College Constitution Reader
Hillsdale College First Principles on First Fridays
[jbox color=”platinum” shadow=”2″ width=”490″ content_css=”font-size: 18px; color:#306262; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;”]Multiple Formats[/jbox]
A free online webinar based upon Clyde Skousen’s book The Making America of America (see above).
The Founder’s Freedom Formula was created by the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) and recorded with the assistance of Rowan Radio and The National Society of American Business Owners. The purpose behind these “Freedom” podcasts is to help accomplish what America’s Founding Fathers said was essential to maintain and preserve our Constitutional form of government … EDUCATE THE COMMON PEOPLE in the proper principles of government. Those 28 key principles, by the way, are listed and beautifully discussed in Dr. W. Cleon Skousen’s book, The 5,000 Year Leap.
Topics covered: a Republic, Constitutional Rights, Government’s Right to Tax, Natural Law #1, Educating the Masses, Government’s Power to Spend, Human Nature, Federalism and the 17th Amendment, Restoring Federalism, Federalism and the 10th Amendment, Religion in America, Church and State vs. Religion and State, the Proper Role of Government, Federalism, Property Rights, Gold Standard, Religion, the Secret to America’s Strength, America’s Founders, the Science of Government, America’s Religion, Trial by Jury of Peers, Public Debt, Creator-Endowed Rights, Natural Law #2, Checks and Balances, Rule of Law, the Unique Idea of the American Constitution, General Welfare, and Equality.
The link above will take visitors to the National Center for Constitutional Study’s website; on the left is a listing of live class offerings, on the right a list of the webinar’s archives, in either video or audio format. Note at the top of the list, there is a downloadable guide that can be printed and used for reference throughout the series of presentations.
[jbox color=”platinum” shadow=”2″ width=”490″ content_css=”font-size: 18px; color:#306262; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;”]Additional Resources[/jbox]
Be sure to visit our Document Archives page.
[jbox color=”platinum” shadow=”2″ width=”490″ content_css=”font-size: 18px; color:#306262; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;”]Selection of GiN Related Articles[/jbox]
- Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters.
- What’s Wrong With the Electoral College?
- America’s Distrust: The Only Darkness is (Constitutional) Ignorance
- Health Care Law’s Achilles Heel? A Growing Legal Morass
- People Don’t Walk Away From a Fool and His Money
- Arbor Day’s J. Sterling Morton: We Don’t Know Him
- Don’t Know Much About History — The Forgotten Presidents
- US Governors Led By Dave Heineman to Pair Up With Chinese July 15
- Nullification: Are States Sitting Ducks or Willing Accomplices?
- Immigration a State or Federal Issue? Birthright Citizenship & the 14th Amendment