When Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention in 1776, someone asked him if had created a monarchy or a republic. Franklin replied, “A republic,” and then famously added, “if you can keep it.” Author Matthew Spalding in trying to help us keep our republic in his new book called We Still Hold These Truths; Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future. This book is essentially a primer on the founding principles every American should have learned in school, but probably didn’t. The Founding Fathers devised a government that, for the first time in history, allowed people to come together to decide how they should govern themselves and secure their natural rights given by God.
Spalding's book gives a broad overview of the experiences and philosophies that influenced the Founders. Readers gain a context for the liberty framed by the Declaration of Independence before the author explains the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Founders chose a republic instead of a democracy, so as to prevent the “tyranny of the majority” from undermining the rights of the minority. The Founders did not make the Supreme Court the final authority in interpreting the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
Spalding explains how modern so-called progressive ideas of relativism and human perfectibility led us away from the founding principles and into big government with its bloated central bureaucracy, newly discovered “rights” for various factions, and ever-expanding entitlement programs. In rediscovering the Constitution’s original design, we can see how far we’ve strayed from it, and we can take steps to restore the liberties that made America great. The name of this useful book by Matthew Spalding is We Still Hold These Truths.
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