Review: The Founders’ Key
Disclaimer: I rec’d a review copy of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson. I rec’d no other compensation and the only requirement was that I post an honest review of the text.
Dr. Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, has given a great gift to our Country — The Founders’ Key! The book’s subtitle, “the divine and natural connection between the Declaration and the Constitution and what we risk by losing it”, sums up Arnn’s thesis: that our Country will only remain a country based on representative governance, where all citizens’ rights are protected and where we don’t get into a despotic dictatorship, IF we look to the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution as a unit, as a teamed set of documents written by our Founding Fathers.
Arnn’s highly readable text delves into the linkage between these amazing documents. He builds a case for why they were never meant to be used separately, that they were meant to be used in tandem. As he puts it:
The central precepts of the American government are found in the Declaration of Independence, and they encompass the inseparable conceptions of nature, equality, rights and consent…. Constitutional rule operates in service of these principles. Its (the US Constitution’s) genius is its ability to deploy but also restrain the use of power and to capitalize on voluntary action to advance the public good.pg. 139
In other words, we risk losing our freedoms, our representative governance, our rights by ignoring one of these documents in favor of the other; they are meant to be referred to together, as a whole, as a way of ensuring that there are checks and balances in our goverment and that we continue with our strong democratic-republic that has been the envy of the world. If we ignore these documents, either one or both, we do so at the risk of losing our country.
To ensure that the reader has access to the original words of these critical documents (and not some watered-down paraphrase from the media or politicians), Arnn has thoughtfully provided the entire text of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights and all amendments) and excerpts of the Federalist Papers written by contemporaries to justify each section of the Constitution for ratification back in the 1780s.
This is one of those books that all voting-age Americans should read. So much of our country’s health and well-being rests with proper execution of these documents. We, the voting public, must ensure that ALL of our elected officials and those who are appointed by our officials (all of whom swear to uphold these documents), strive to uphold the truths set forth in the Declaration and the US Constitution for, after all,
They are our birthright. We Americans owe them a debt. They make a series of demanding claims. … their core meaning is said to be absolute and fixed. To believe them is to take on the obligation to obey them, and then one must live in a certain way. page 5