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The Founding Fathers Guide To The Constitution By Brion McClanahan

June 7, 2012 by  

“[N]either major American political party adheres to [the] Constitution; many of our elected representatives are ignorant of its text and original meaning. The only hope lies in a better educated public. Americans don’t need judges, lawyers, politicians, or ivory tower academics descending to provide answers to our constitutional questions. The Founding Fathers have already done that for us. We just need to read what they said and hold politicians in Washington accountable,” writes Brion McClanahan as he closes his book The Founding Fathers Guide To The Constitution. And McClanahan has taken an important step in making obtaining that education simpler with his book.

For those without the time or inclination to read the thoughts of those who participated in the process of debating, drafting and ratifying the Constitution — the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers and the text of the ratification debates — this book is an excellent place to begin obtaining a greater understanding of the Nation’s founding document.

McClanahan has taken the U.S. Constitution and broken it down into its separate clauses. He then inserted quotes from the participants to provide the context of their thoughts and concerns on each clause and the discussions that took place to help them agree on the final wording of the founding document.

The way it’s done provides the reader with a greater understanding of Founding Fathers and the way they viewed the Nation, the different States and individual and States’ rights. McClanahan doesn’t use the terms “Federalist” and “Anti-federalist.” He divides them as “proponents” and “opponents.”

He writes:

Opponents of the Constitution were never comfortable with the term “Anti-federalist.” They correctly pointed out during the ratification debates that what they wanted was to retain the federal system of the Articles of Confederation, and the proponents of the Constitution, instead of being federalists, were in faction nationalists bent on eliminating the State governments. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts remarked in 1789 that “those who were called antifederalists at the time complained that they had injustice done them by the title, because they were in favor of a Federal Government, and the others were in favor of a national one; the federals were for ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others not until amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and antifederalists, but by rats and antirats.”

In fact, one of the major sources of contention during the debates involved ensuring that States remained sovereign under a Federal government. Most people today have no understanding of how the early citizens of the countries viewed the Nation. They did not consider it an amalgam of homogenous people, but a confederation of different States. They considered each State almost as a separate country.

And while the idea of whether the States should retain their sovereignty was much discussed, the idea that they would under this Constitution won out.

The Constitution was not ratified by the people, but by the States. The Federal government, in their view, was to be a source of a few specific services that benefited the States generally. Everything else was left under the purview of State and local governments.

McClanahan devotes a great deal of the book discussing the Founder’s views on the more controversial aspects of the Constitution — those clauses that are so abused by the elected class today. These are the “Necessary and Proper Clause” and the General Welfare Clause of Article I, Section 8; and the Supremacy Clause of Article 6. Reading the discussions that took place around the adoption of those closes provides a greater understanding of the intended role of government and lays out in stark detail how far afield our government has grown from the original intent.

I can’t emphasize enough how important this book is to the cause of liberty and for the education of those who are beginning to wake up to the tyranny that is now squeezing us like a python squeezes its prey. I recommend everyone read it and pass it along to friends.

It’s a simple read; the main text of the hardcover edition encompasses only 197 pages. There are also two appendices. One is filled with Founders’ quotes that did not make the text but could be used during any discussion about the Constitution’s adoption. The other discusses the amendments proposed but not adopted.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Kdenneth I. Hincks

    There is no doubt that the Constitution of the United States has been under fire since it’s inception as people seek to acquire control of the masses. There is also no doubt that our founding fathers recognized this fault in man, for their debates echoed this regognition. The problem today is that time and our education has watered our understanding of the priniciples entertained by the authors of the Constitution. Educators and politicians alike have interpreted each of the articles to suit their beliefs and designs, and with the aid of liberal media has perverted many of its sacred provisions. It would be ideal if Brion McClanahan’s book could be made reuired reading for the masses. It is they, and only they, that can stop the headlong charge by the politicians to totalitarianism

  • http://charter howe

    Well Said Hincks, I would only add that the socialist democrats (code name for commies) numbering 70 in the House and over 40 in the Senate have a radically different ideology than what the framers provided in the U.S. Constitution and is the biggest reason for legislative gridlock and frequent violations of the U.S. Constitution. Examples like Obamacare, the Libyan War involvement without Congressional approval, violation of the 1st amendment religious rights of the Catholic Church etc.Education is where it starts.

  • Polski

    So, my question about the book, “how do we know these are what the founders thought, just because someone writes a book about it?”

    Did each of the founders write their thoughts down? And if they did, were they witnessed? Remember, that was 230 years ago, NO ONE here was alive at that time. If someone that was not old enough to be there, has a 2nd hand or 3rd hand or…..quote, how do we know that it is accurate?

    The reason I bring this up is because I’m old enough to have lived through WWII. What happened, as opposed to what writers who were not old enough to have lived through it, are 2 DIFFERENT things.

    Just think about it. When you read the various comments in this general forum, MOST of them you think he’s/she’s kidding, right, because they are so ridiculous. You know that not even Walmart would hire these people.

    • TML

      Polski says, “Did each of the founders write their thoughts down? And if they did, were they witnessed?”

      Fortunately yes… they wrote them down, obviously in the form of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers along with much of the ratification debates being recorded. Do you own research to verify the claims, as even Bob rightly says the book is a good ‘starting’ place.

    • metoman

      So what about the bible, is anyone around today? Do we have original writings? I assume you do not believe in god, Jesus, Mohammad or any other religious teachings as everything is heresay with no primary evidence. Yes they did write it down, his book is a research tool that will lead you to the answers to your questions. This is not Bill Clinton’s Orwellian version of doublethink when alone is not really alone and is isn’t is. He just saved you countless hours of research, you should thank him.

  • ChristyK

    Another good book that goes throught he consitution clause by clause using founders quotes and noting supreme court rulings that supported or changed the meaning is “The Making of America” put out by the center for constitutional studies. I can’t compare the two books, having only read the one I am recommending.

  • AZ-Ike

    I am looking forward to reading McClanahan’s book.

    Another very interesting resource on the Constitution is the free course offered by Hillsdale College, Constitution 101. It is set up as 10 video lessions and Q&A sessions, with accompanying assigned readings. The video lessons and Q&As are archived for convenience, and the readings are accessible by internet link so there are no additional books necessary. Each lesson, Q&A and readings can be completed in approx. 2 hours (+/-). Completion of the course gives a much greater depth of understanding to those who want to know and understand our nation’s founding documents. Please contact:

  • cpmondello

    Here are some thoughts directly quoted from the Founding Fathers:

    George Washington, First President of USA:

    “The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy.”

    “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”

    “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation,” Washington wrote. “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

    A near-contemporary, the Rev. Dr. Bird Wilson, “perused every line that (President George) Washington ever gave to the public and (did) not find one expression in which he pledges himself as a believer in Christianity. … He was a Deist and nothing more.” Wilson judged all of the first six presidents to be “infidels.”


    John Adams, Second President of the USA, was First Vice President under First President George Washington

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” ~ Tripoli of Barbary. Art. 11. – Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.

    “The Judeo-Christian religion is the most bloody religion that ever existed.” Adams’ treaty with Tripoli specified that the American government “is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”


    Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the USA and Vice President to Second President John Adams

    “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies.”

    “Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we counternance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions.”

    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”

    “The Christian god is a three-headed monster, cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three-headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.”

    “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

    “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” ~ Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to John Adams (April 11, 1823)


    James Madison a.k.a. ‘The Father of the Constitution of the United States of America, and the Fourth President of the United States:

    “The number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church and the State.”

    “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”


    Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Most famous for ‘The Age of Reason’ (1794) and ‘Common Sense’ (1776). He immigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution:

    “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion”.

    “Of all the systems of religion that were ever invented, nothing is more … repugnant to reason … than this thing called Christianity.”

    “It is from the bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder, for the belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man, and the bible is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind”

    “All national institutions of churches whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. … My own mind is my own church.” ~ Thomas Paine ‘The Age of Reason’ (1794)


    • Isaac Davis

      Ever heard of Pascal’s Wager?


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