Pub. Date:
Bloomsbury USA
The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country--and Why It Can Again

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

by Eric Lane, Michael Oreskes


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Due to a combination of heightened frustration, moves to skirt the constitutional process, and a widespread disconnect between the people and their constitutional "conscience," Lane and Oreskes warn us our longstanding Democracy is at risk. Together, they examine the Constitution's history relative to this current crisis, from its framing to its centuries-long success, including during some of the country's most turbulent and contentious times, and challenge us to let this great document work as it was designed-valuing political process over product. They hold our leaders accountable, calling on them to stop fanning the flames of division and to respect their institutional roles. In the final assessment, The Genius of America asks us to lean on the framers and their experience to secure our country's wellbeing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596914919
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 10/14/2008
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Eric Lane is a professor of law at Hofstra University School of Law, senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, and the author of several texts on government. He has served as director of the New York State Commission on Constitutional Revision, as director of the New York City Charter Revision Commission, and as counsel to the New York State Senate Democrats. Michael Oreskes is the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune. He has served as deputy managing editor, Washington bureau chief, metropolitan editor, and national political correspondent for the New York Times.

Table of Contents

Introduction: An Extraordinary Accomplishment 1 Part 1 The Invention
1 The More Fatal Problem Lies Among the People Themselves 21
2 Approaching So Near to Perfection as It Does 48
3 That Poor Little Thing-the Expression We the People 80 Part 2 Thank God, It Worked
4 To Meet Extraordinary Needs 103
5 The Right to Alter the Established Constitution 123 Part 3 The Challenge
6 A Mandate for Vigorous Action 147
7 Government Is Not the Solution, Government Is the Problem 174 Conclusion: We 199 Appendix The Constitution of the United States of America 223 Acknowledgments 253 Abbreviations and Bibliography 257 Notes 269 Index 283

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Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country--And Why It Can Again 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JacquelineJules on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your political affiliation doesn't matter. This is an excellent civics lesson for all.