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February 2017 Policy Study, Number 17-2


A Commentary on the American Founding


Part 20



Suggested Reading


This list will be divided into two groups.  Group I, is must reading if you truly want to understand our form of government.  They are listed in their order of usefulness, as what is gleaned from an earlier book is used in the later works.  Group II is in no particular order, but it will be most useful in fleshing out your understanding.


Group I:


The Holy Bible:  This is the book that our Founders used to refine their understanding of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  It is most difficult, if not impossible, to understand the true nature of our form of government without a good understanding of this book, the fact that you may not believe in it notwithstanding.  George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”


Two Treaties of Government by John Locke:  Again, this book preceded the founding of this nation, and our Founders used Locke’s work in designing our original form of government.  You can determine this for yourself when you read the Federalist Papers, in which you will find some of Locke’s phrases used (though not quoted) verbatim.


The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith:  This work is in the same category as Locke’s work.  Our Founders were well aware of the “invisible hand.”  Smith’s phrases were also used but unattributed.


The Declaration of Independence


The Constitution


The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay:  These were written in favor of the proposed constitution.


The Anti-Federalist Papers by George Mason, Patrick Henry, and many more:  These essays were written by men who were leery of a strong central government.


The Law by Frederic Bastiat:  A must-read to understand the limitations of legitimate government.


The Noblest Triumph by Tom Bethell:  A must-read to develop a true appreciation for private property.


Group II:


Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville:  A view of the workings of our young government by a citizen from France.


Original Intent by David Barton:  A study of the views of our Founders at the time they were establishing this nation.


A History of the American People by Paul Johnson


The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx


The Theme is Freedom by M. Stanton Evans


Christianity and the Constitution by John Eidsmoe


Vindicating the Founders by Thomas G. West


The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


Economics in One Easy Lesson by Henry Hazlitt


On Liberty by John Stuart Mill


Common Sense by Thomas Paine


The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky


Jury Nullification by Clay S. Conrad


The speeches and personal correspondence of any of the Founding Fathers that you can lay your hands on.





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