An exhaustive study of the intended meaning of the United States Constitution as originally framed in 1787, implemented in 1789, and amended in 1791, 1798, and 1804, this expansive work traces each provision of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the 11th and 12th Amendments to their basic roots. Taking into account the constitutional law and history of England, events of the American Revolution, debates at the Philadelphia Convention, discussions in the Federalist, and other historic events and documents, the author examines the more perfect union established in 1789 as a confederacy of free, sovereign, and independent states, exactly as King George III prescribed when he conceded American independence.
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"This work is an epic produced by amazing intellectual energy. It will be of unique present interest and a wonderful gift to posterity." --Hon. John P. Flaherty, associate justice (1979-1996), chief justice (1996-2001), Supreme Court of PennsylvaniaFrom the Inside Flap:
Since the Philadelphia Convention and the First Congress, there has been an extended debate over what the Framers intended by various provisions of the United States Constitution. An argument popularized by Leonard Levy says that, since the Framers reached no political consensus among themselves, the intended meaning of the Constitution is an illusion. John Remington Graham rejects this contention. Despite their political differences, he says, the Framers understood that there was to be a true legal meaning of the Constitution that can be rediscovered in any age by using certain rules of the common law for ascertaining the will of the lawgiver. They knew that this intended meaning was flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances from one generation to the next yet would impose a brake on excessive innovation.
This work systematically and comprehensively examines the historical roots and purposes of each and every clause in the United States Constitution as framed in 1787, implemented in 1789, and amended in 1791, 1798, and 1804. As such, the document is a practical blueprint for reforming the future of North America, Europe, and other parts of the world. Constitution writing is a lost art that can be relearned and improved by studying the craftsmanship of the Framers, as this volume does like no other.
A unique feature of this work is the author's insightful appreciation of the Founding Fathers of the United States, including Alexander Hamilton, James Wilson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and Luther Martin. Graham gives special attention not only to the incomparable standing and example of George Washington, who was foremost among them all, but also to reigning princes in Europe: Louis XVI, who rescued the American Revolution from collapse, and George III who, though greatly misunderstood, earnestly tried to reconcile with his American subjects before hostilities broke out and later conceded American independence with paternal kindness.
Expansive, meticulous, and stimulating, this book portrays the timeless and classical features of the United States Constitution as it was originally given to posterity. It is not another text about what judges have said. Instead, it describes a monument to Western civilization.
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