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This oversimplification obscures our real issues. From Jefferson to this very day, we have looked to the 18th century to solve our problems, even though the fathers themselves were a querulous and divided group who rarely agreed. Coming to terms with the past, David Sehat suggests, would be the start of a productive debate. And in this account, which is by turns informative, colorful, and witty, he shows us why.
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By Philo on 09-25-15
The Constitution's contradictions and ambiguities
Yes, there were deals cut, and gaps, intentional or not, in this document, as events emerged in later history. Jefferson himself was at moments idealistic and at others rather irresponsible and at odds with his own windy statements. (Witness the glowing otherworldly declaration of God-given equality in the Declaration, and his own conduct with slaves.) None of the founders was a perfect philosopher or prognosticator. We can start with something as glaring as the mealy-mouthed papering-over of slavery issues, in service of uniting various the disparate states into a nation (which had to be done, perhaps, as it seemed at the time, to ascend the next rung to nationhood and deal with other competitive sovereigns), and what an awful gaping wound that proved (and has proved with a long shadow into today) to be. I say all this as an ardent admirer of the U.S. Constitution. This book is a fine, listenable, extended reflection on various aspects of the matter. It has a point of view, but never so annoyingly as to preclude stimulating some worthwhile thinking.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By KEVIN E FARRIS on 07-08-15
Misguided reliance on the Founders
Not unlike the book, The Quartet, this text effectively demonstrates how utterly ridiculous the constant references to our Founding Fathers as a defense or justification for current political positions truly is. Tea Partiers talk of "No compromise" and "stay true to the text of the Constitution" when the text was specifically born of Compromise and intentionally left the Founding Document replete with ambiguities intended as a framework upon which a functioning Federal government to be built and allow for general principles to guide elected leaders rather than constrain them.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful