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The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution

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Ronald Reagan -- President of the United States: The National Center for Constitutional Studies...is doing a fine public service in educating Americans about the principles of the Constitution. For many years in the United States, there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers' original success formula. This has resulted in some of their most unique co Ronald Reagan -- President of the United States: The National Center for Constitutional Studies...is doing a fine public service in educating Americans about the principles of the Constitution. For many years in the United States, there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers' original success formula. This has resulted in some of their most unique contributions for a free and prosperous society becoming lost or misunderstood. Therefore, there has been a need to review the history and development of the making of America in order to recapture the brilliant precepts which made Americans the first free people in modern times.The Making of America provides a wealth of material on the Founding Father's intentions when drafting the American Constitution. It is one of the most thorough compilations of statements by the Framers relating to constitutional interpretation, and addresses the Constitution clause by clause -- providing resources on the Founder's intent of each clause. The National Center for Constitutional Studies, a nonprofit educational foundation, was created in order to revive those original American concepts in all of their initial brilliance and vitality. The very fact that many of them are becoming obscure and misunderstood emphasizes the urgency of the task. The study for The Making of America extended over a period of nearly 40 years, and an organized effort to present this information in a published text was a concerted endeavor of nearly 14 years.It will be observed that many new insights are provided in the writings of the Founders for the solution to serious economic, political and social problems plaguing the world today. It is felt that a study of The Making of America can be of lasting value to all who have a serious concern for the general welfare of not only America but all mankind.


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Ronald Reagan -- President of the United States: The National Center for Constitutional Studies...is doing a fine public service in educating Americans about the principles of the Constitution. For many years in the United States, there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers' original success formula. This has resulted in some of their most unique co Ronald Reagan -- President of the United States: The National Center for Constitutional Studies...is doing a fine public service in educating Americans about the principles of the Constitution. For many years in the United States, there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers' original success formula. This has resulted in some of their most unique contributions for a free and prosperous society becoming lost or misunderstood. Therefore, there has been a need to review the history and development of the making of America in order to recapture the brilliant precepts which made Americans the first free people in modern times.The Making of America provides a wealth of material on the Founding Father's intentions when drafting the American Constitution. It is one of the most thorough compilations of statements by the Framers relating to constitutional interpretation, and addresses the Constitution clause by clause -- providing resources on the Founder's intent of each clause. The National Center for Constitutional Studies, a nonprofit educational foundation, was created in order to revive those original American concepts in all of their initial brilliance and vitality. The very fact that many of them are becoming obscure and misunderstood emphasizes the urgency of the task. The study for The Making of America extended over a period of nearly 40 years, and an organized effort to present this information in a published text was a concerted endeavor of nearly 14 years.It will be observed that many new insights are provided in the writings of the Founders for the solution to serious economic, political and social problems plaguing the world today. It is felt that a study of The Making of America can be of lasting value to all who have a serious concern for the general welfare of not only America but all mankind.

30 review for The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    5 STARS! I've read this book, several times as I taught my class on the Constitution. It's a hard book to beat! This is definitly second book anyone in America should ever read to understand the Constitution! (The first book being The 5,000 Year Leap by the same author.) This book, I like to say, is the "dissection" of the U.S. Constitution. It was 40 yrs in the making by the author, traveling around the world and gathering mainly primary sources for all definitions, explanation, and expounding on 5 STARS! I've read this book, several times as I taught my class on the Constitution. It's a hard book to beat! This is definitly second book anyone in America should ever read to understand the Constitution! (The first book being The 5,000 Year Leap by the same author.) This book, I like to say, is the "dissection" of the U.S. Constitution. It was 40 yrs in the making by the author, traveling around the world and gathering mainly primary sources for all definitions, explanation, and expounding on all-things-Constitution. This book will teach the reader about every single "Provision" found in the Constitution. What is a "provision"? Well, you dissect the Constitution by Article, then Section, then Clause, normally. But if you dig deeper into each clause you find the provisions - or in other words, the sentences. Yes, sentence by sentence, this book dissects the Constitution, telling not only what that sentence meant in the eyes of the Founders, and how it has come to mean what it means today (sometimes those ar the same, sometimes they are different meanings), but it also teaches the history behind each provision, each clause, each section and article - why the Founders included it, and even why they did not include certain other "provisions" - making sense out of the entire Constitution and it's true meaning and application. Something that stands out from reading this, is the understanding that the Founders did not create this heaven-inspired document for an agrarian, antiquated society, but they wrote it with Human Nature in mind - something they knew very well never changes. Hence in their view the Constitution was not a "living" Constitution, in the manner we define that today; but rather it was a bolting-down of the formal governance of this republic so that the whims of men would not drag our nation from one end of the political spectrum (anarchy) to the other end (Tyranny). This Constitution is applicable to all people throughout all the ages of the world. Secondly, something that also stands out repeatedly is how this Constitution truly was written for a moral and religious people, just as John Adams stated and as Benjamin Franklin intimated, and it is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other. I think in 2019 we are seeing the real application of that principle, as we see a society losing more and more of its morality and religious base, and as a consequence a society that is becoming more savage not only in its communication but in its manner of living and behavior as well. A third important point is the definition of things such as "militia", "separation of church and state", and more such misinterpreted phrases that today are flung about as if they mean one thing, but in reality mean a completely opposite thing. This books lays out the history and background of each of this, as the student/reader proceeds through the pages. In all, it is the most perfect book there is on the Constitution. Highly recommended for people ages 14+ (the reader must have a good grasp of the English language as many quotes are shared and principles explained in ways that people no longer seem to understand, since our government schools and lackadaisical grammar in today's authors have seemed to "dumb down" our population.) A MUST READ.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Working on this one a bit. Seems to be pushing Skousen's agenda again, the principles he claims the founders meant, but mysteriously showed up in 5000 Yr Leap. I'm dubious of the accuracy, but just flipped through and started the biographies. Even selecting the summaries from that particular source shows Skousen's uncritical desire to build up these guys as united, inspired men. I think they were inspired in an overall way, but they fought constantly for their states' benefits and not all voted Working on this one a bit. Seems to be pushing Skousen's agenda again, the principles he claims the founders meant, but mysteriously showed up in 5000 Yr Leap. I'm dubious of the accuracy, but just flipped through and started the biographies. Even selecting the summaries from that particular source shows Skousen's uncritical desire to build up these guys as united, inspired men. I think they were inspired in an overall way, but they fought constantly for their states' benefits and not all voted in favor of the constitution. I think it passed by one vote. Later: Read a big chunk of this--did not finish. Skousen is not a scholar or academic in the usual sense of the words. He gathers a lot of information and presents it in one-sided fashion to support his worldview. I want to learn more about Anglo-Saxon common law and rate it more merit than when I read The 5000 Year Leap, but I still strongly doubt it was commonly applied as Skousen presents. Those same wise peaceful Saxons were also the bloodthirsty raiders of Arthurian legend. This book does not present an accurate, full picture of our nation's founding. Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man and philosopher, but also a terribly political, short-sighted actual leader. All accounts presented as "facts" must be taken with a small shaker of salt.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book is wonderful! I am fasinated by the constitution and decloration of independance and enjoy learning about how they came about and what was sacrificed for our free country. I sometimes wonder what these great americans who basically layed down the foundation of our country would think if they saw what was going on today. I think they do see it, I just wish I knew what they are thinking!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kaleen

    I enjoyed learning about how the Constitution came into being. I also appreciated the Constitution more by reading this book. I feel that this is such an amazing country and the men that helped shape it should be honored.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Well, let's face it... This book is more of a textbook, and I don't know if I'll ever read the whole thing cover to cover. But it is a great reference book with very valuable information. I'm sure I will continue to study out of this book. Every home in America should have it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Every American should read this book! We need to know our history, know our founding fathers and the sacrifices and lifetime commitment they gave for our country, our freedom. They were truly men inspired of God, they made mistakes for sure but through it all they have thanksgiving to God.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    What a great book for helping one understand the constitution completely. There were many great insights as to how certain amendments were passed, quotes from the founders to understand their thoughts more fully and an interesting way of presenting the information. It is long with over 700 pages but can be skimmed at times. A must read when wanting to understand the constitution.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julia M

    A very detailed look at EVERY part of the constitution.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I don't know how I could have a political opinion for national politics without reading this book first. I still need to learn so much. History is the teacher to look to. Jefferson learned most from history and his observations of it. It was interesting to know that the basic political differences people have have always been around and that there will be two sets of people those for freedom and those for having others force them to do what they desire. It's unfortunate today that the two major I don't know how I could have a political opinion for national politics without reading this book first. I still need to learn so much. History is the teacher to look to. Jefferson learned most from history and his observations of it. It was interesting to know that the basic political differences people have have always been around and that there will be two sets of people those for freedom and those for having others force them to do what they desire. It's unfortunate today that the two major political parties today stand for the latter. This book has taught me that I need to continue to learn more history so I can better understand the world of today. It would have been nice if the book expounded more on some of the constitutional principles, it seemed to gloss over some of them. Favorite quotes: "John Adams was equally explicit: 'Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.'" Comparing the Israelite law (which influenced the making of the Constitution) to that of the Constitution: "There was major emphasis on strong local self-government." - It seems many of the strifes that people have for one another (politically) could be solved by localizing many of the issues and keeping to the basic tenants in the constitution, i.e., keep the federal government to only constitutional issues and restoring some of the basic principles that separated the powers of the federal government.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lane Dockstader

    I am currently reading this book, and am on about page 130. It is a great discussion on the Constitution, and how it came to be. So far, there are two things that I am most impressed with. First of all, the scholarly background of Thomas Jefferson. He was very well read in many subjects. He would typically stay up until 2am reading. He was so well read that when he went before the bar, for his legal training, the members of the board were unanimous in saying that he seemed to know more about the l I am currently reading this book, and am on about page 130. It is a great discussion on the Constitution, and how it came to be. So far, there are two things that I am most impressed with. First of all, the scholarly background of Thomas Jefferson. He was very well read in many subjects. He would typically stay up until 2am reading. He was so well read that when he went before the bar, for his legal training, the members of the board were unanimous in saying that he seemed to know more about the law, than they did. Another thing that was interesting to consider, was the limited resources of the army under the original Articles of Confederation. The members of the early army were without the basic necessities of food and decent clothing. During the wintertime, especially, they went through periods of near starvation. The problem was that the United States did not have power to tax the people at this time. Any money put forth was on a voluntary basis of the states. At this time, for the most part, the states did nothing and so the army practically starved to death. This book helps me to realize the sacrifices, not only of our military today, but also in the beginning of our country as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shad

    This book contains a lot of good information and presents some interesting ideas, but it is academically lacking, espcially when it comes to discussions of other scholars' views on various points he raises. Also, he pushes his agenda rather than allowing the information to speak for itself. It seems to be comprehensive in approach, but only certain aspects are addressed that way while others are merely mentioned. I disagree with the overall approach of looking at the Constitution as a list of ri This book contains a lot of good information and presents some interesting ideas, but it is academically lacking, espcially when it comes to discussions of other scholars' views on various points he raises. Also, he pushes his agenda rather than allowing the information to speak for itself. It seems to be comprehensive in approach, but only certain aspects are addressed that way while others are merely mentioned. I disagree with the overall approach of looking at the Constitution as a list of rights vested in different bodies. He strains words and sentence construction to term every clause as a right rather than recognizing they are primarily limitations. While he is very conservative, he seems to miss that the message to pull from the Constitution and its framing is not one of rights but of responsibilities.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    I loved it. If you are an American and care about your liberties you must read this. Okay, fair warning, this was a brute, not quite a monster but a big book. I continue to be amazed at the wisdom of the founding fathers. Maybe they didn't think of everything but they nearly did. In my opinion we, the citizens of this country and those we've elected to represent us, have just moved entirely too far away from these founding principles. If you ever wondered "Why?" when thinking about a government I loved it. If you are an American and care about your liberties you must read this. Okay, fair warning, this was a brute, not quite a monster but a big book. I continue to be amazed at the wisdom of the founding fathers. Maybe they didn't think of everything but they nearly did. In my opinion we, the citizens of this country and those we've elected to represent us, have just moved entirely too far away from these founding principles. If you ever wondered "Why?" when thinking about a government question then you should read this. If for no other reason (and I'll bet many of you never have) you should read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution both of which are at the back of the book. It was a challenge but well worth the effort.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jey

    I really liked this book. I would seriously consider saying that it should be required reading for every American (maybe before they can vote for the first time?). One of the things I liked the most about this book was that Skousen managed to answer nearly every questions that popped up in my head as I read. I would be reading along and think: But what about... And in the next paragraph he would address it. I also really liked that it was almost all original sources, not paraphrases. I feel more I really liked this book. I would seriously consider saying that it should be required reading for every American (maybe before they can vote for the first time?). One of the things I liked the most about this book was that Skousen managed to answer nearly every questions that popped up in my head as I read. I would be reading along and think: But what about... And in the next paragraph he would address it. I also really liked that it was almost all original sources, not paraphrases. I feel more educated.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alysia

    I don't often find textbooks inspiring, but this one us, because it includes so many quotes and stories from original and inspiring sources : our founding fathers and mothers. It organizes the principles of liberty that are found to be true in all civilizations, and presents them in clear and understandable ways. An important and inspiring study for anyone wishing to understand what makes America free and what principles and qualities are necessary to preserving freedom.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    Ok. Skousen was an amazing author. The amount of work he had to put into this book is phenominal. Not to mention the depth and understanding of his knowledge. He was certainly among the few who truly "get it" when it comes to the full majesty and miracle the Constitution and the men who struggled to put their great experiment into action. It is a slow read, and at times tedious, but has so far been well worth the effort.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This book contains a line by line explanation of the Constitution using quotes by the founders to explain what they meant. It is not the kind of book you pick up and read cover to cover like a novel but it is super valuable as a reference. I especially like how he explains the origins of the Constitution in the Bible and Saxon laws which influenced England's laws which influenced America's. America would have never been free had Spain been the country to colonize the new world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jared Bangerter

    This is a great Text book but it took me a bit to battle through some parts of it, I read it for enjoyment and it wasn't exactly enjoyable, it was however very informative and I have used it as a reference many times in my newsletters and blog postings. A great reference book but not something i'd pick up and read again.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Baden

    This book is about the constitution. It discusses in detail the founders thoughts on all of the provisions therein, the reason for the provision, and how the provision has either been violated or held to. Skousen is a Libertarian. Therefore, what he states as unconstitutional is according to the Jeffersonian/Libertarian philosophy. The book is great for learning about the constitution.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Love Skousen. Have to admit, this one doesn't read too smoothly but the content is fascinating and comprehensive. I love learning about the founding fathers and how we've strayed from their vision of liberty and the American way. It's a biiiiiggggg book, but a good reference one to have in your library, especially if we're going to have to defend our Constitution someday!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Harold C.

    If there is a better book at laying the Constitution out to the average person, I have not seen it. In essence, the Constitution is broken down, and each part is explained in detail - and much of the intent is derived from the debates of the Convention. The footnotes are extensive. While one might not agree 100% with the author, one cannot deny that this is a well-researched book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark Donaldson

    I have been reading this book for about 1.5 years. It is really like reading a history/constitution text book. The book divides the principles of the constitution into almost 200 sections and uses hundreds of quotes from the founding fathers. These quotes establish what their original intent was when drafting the constitution.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Egbert

    I realize that most people are not going to sit down and read this from cover to cover. However, this is a reference book that should be on every family's shelf. And it should not just sit on the shelf. Take it down, open to a page and just peruse a few of the quotes and ideas. It will be well worth your while.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eddie

    A fantastic textbook on our Constitution. A bit of a long read, but it goes into great depth to explain so many little points about why the Constitution was designed the way it was and how it has been modified to reduce our freedoms. Definitely worth reading and more so, worth understanding. Highly recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shelly Greenhalgh-Davis

    Along with Skousen's book "The 5000-Year Leap", I consider these must-reads for every American citizen. I believe it is more important than ever to understand the struggle the Founding Fathers went through to set up our system of government. They were truly inspired men, blessed with principle and intelligence that could have come from nowhere but divine inspiration.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chad Simons

    Awesome book about the intent of the Founding Fathers regarding the Constitution. Eye opening to see how far we have strayed from original intentions and to see the damage the last few administrations have caused us! Great research and use of personal letters to truly dig intent of the Founding Fathers. Thick book with lots of additional sources to research as you read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rex Cluff

    This text gives a great conservative constitutional view of our Constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers in creating this landmark document. It also touches on how far astray we have gone from those original intents. I would love to teach this text to all undergraduates in America so that they can appreciate their responsibilities under the law of the land to preserve our freedoms.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This is a great book! Very interesting reading. Although it is a text book and may be difficult to read from cover to cover, it is full of information about the documents, framers, and history that lead to the founding of our Republic.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    For anyone who is wanting to learn more about the Constitution, and have a clear explaination about what it means, backed up by direct quotes from the Founders to enforce those meanings, this is THE book for you! Of all my books, I reference this one most of all!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    This was an informative textbook on the constitution and the founding fathers. I didn't read all of it, but it helped me understand more about what was happening at the time and the great document that the constitution really is.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shary

    I don't say this about many books.. Every home should have a copy. Families should read it together.. individuals should study it. It should be required reading for anyone in public office. Oh that it were required reading before anyone could vote in this country.

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