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The Genius of America: How the Constitution…

The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country--and Why It…

by Eric Lane, Michael Oreskes

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Traces the history of the Constitution and how it came into being, exploring how it has weathered past crises, how it effectively helps us govern our nation, and the current threats to the constitutional process.



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The Genius of America by Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes examines the foundation of our constitutional government in a concise and compelling manner. Throughout this work, the authors refer to our “Constitutional Conscience” as a vital component of the American political system. Democracy in and of itself will not protect the rights of citizens. A constitution in and of itself will not preserve democracy. Germany was a constitutional democracy in 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power.

In 1787, our founding fathers ingeniously created an entirely new form of democracy--one designed to protect minorities from majority rule and majorities from minority rule. Checks and balances between three branches of government keep any one branch from obtaining too much power. While our system is slow and often leads to frustrating stalemates, it requires that people work together to produce results. Such a government has built-in impediments against militant groups who might take control at the expense of other citizens. In other words, the very machinery that makes governmental change so maddeningly slow preserves our freedom.

Lane and Oreskes clearly explain challenges our Constitution has faced over the years, such as Proposition 13, which allowed the 50% of Californians who voted to make a sweeping decision for the entire state on tax revenues. Direct democracy doesn’t always provide a centrist approach. This is something our founding fathers understood when they wrote the Constitution.

In closing, the authors called for more Civics Education for our young people. If there are flaws in our government and changes are needed, they must be made with a solid understanding of what we already have. Reading The Genius of America has reaffirmed my admiration for our uniquely American democracy and inspired me in my own efforts to promote Constitution Day activities on September 17th. ( )
  JacquelineJules | Jul 14, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eric Laneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Oreskes, Michaelmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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