The Original Counter-Argument: The Founders’ Case Against the Ratification of the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century, by Paul Douglas Boyer
Paperback and Kindle Kindle edition available from Amazon.com
298 pages, appendixes, bibliography, nice size print for those of us who wear eyeglasses.
Bad news first: there is no index. (Any nonfiction work should always have an index.)
How many times have you heard ‘they-he-she violated my rights’? How many times have you wondered just how many rights are in the Bill of Rights? How many citizens have actually read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Articles of Confederation? Too boring?
Gratefully, all three documents are written in such a manner we do not need a lawyer to understand the wisdom of the Founding Fathers of this nation. The documents are included in this book as appendixes. Each is short, easy to read, and alone are worth the price of the book.
Another interesting appendix is the Population Chart of the first seventeen states from 1790-2010. One state leads the charge to overpopulation, while a handful has barely grown at all.
The most interesting document in the book is a short transmittal letter written by George Washington. I suggest you read it first, and then read the remainder of the book from the beginning. Then read the letter from a wise man once again.
The author presents thirty opinions from the beginning of the great debate concerning the need for a constitution. Some are less than a page in length while others are more long-winded. All are interesting and still relevant to the discussion. Each essay has a short, less than a page, introduction to set the stage, and a short list of key points after each essay. Both are helpful, and are not the author’s opinion. Whether you agree or disagree with each essay, they all add to your knowledge base of the most important documents of our nation.
It is surprising who opposed our constitution and how close the votes for ratification were in each state. The debates were spirited, thoughtful, and at times quite heated, as they should have been. The debate still rages today, and should continue as long we exist. Is our federal government too powerful is the eternal question.
Copies of the proposed constitution were printed and widely distributed to the citizenry for their input. People were encouraged to study the documents and voice their opinion. Nowadays, our legislators do not even read most of the legislation they cast a vote for or against.
The author is not an historian, which may be why this book is so good. With a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, he has applied his training to pick apart a complex issue, and the book is presented in an easily understood format.
You would do well to include this book on your reference shelf.
Our Constitution will be 225 years young on 17 September 2012, and a good day to buy this book. Happy Birthday to us all.