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Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  177 ratings  ·  24 reviews
“Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
—Thomas Jefferson

The United States Constitution—the bedrock of our country, the foundation of our federal republic—is . . . dead.

You won’t hear that from the politicians who endlessly pay lip service to the Constitution. It’s the dirty little secret that bestsell
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Published July 8th 2008 by Crown Forum (first published 2008)
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Andy
Oct 31, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone in the U.S. who cares about the country
Unlike many books on the U.S. political scene right now, a very balanced and fair appraisal of the State of the Union, with respect to following the Constitution. General impression is that no Party is doing a good job of respecting the Constitution.
Republicans have George Bush with his view of an aggressive executive branch.
Democrats have FDR, with his view of unlimited National government.
Presidents seem to all seek more power than they are allowed.
Congresses all seek more power than they are
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John
This is another book in the same vein as Constitutional Chaos, A Nation of Sheep, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. It is a worthy addition to these books, covering some new ground. Woods and Gutzman review twelve different points in American history that we collectively put nails into the coffin of the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution is clearly dead, as they both argue and there is no easy path to resuscitate it. We are a lawless nation, governed by the will of men, n
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SPL120
Maybe, just maybe, our media and consumerist/gadget obsessions distract us just enough from caring about the consequences of what the federal government and moneyed interests have come to perfect in our absence of mindfulness: running roughshod over the country's freedoms and the ideals at their foundation. And maybe we need to dial back our perception of "consumerism" as freedom and think pointedly about what exists in the absence of distractions.

Rare is the person who is genuinely thoughtful a
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Jeff
"The Constitution is Dead." That's the title of the Introduction, and it reiterated again in the Conclusion. In between these two sections are what the authors call the "dirty dozen" top offenders - those changes to Constitutional interpretation over the last 100 years or so that have done the most damage to the original form of government envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. In many instances the "reinterpretations" run completely counter to historical precedent and original intent - ...more
Maureen
This book is scarier than a mystery novel! Jefferson warned that the Roman Republic fell when the ruling class began to ignore the Constitution. If anyone listened to him then they aren't now.

Over time the Constitution has been abused by every branch of the government. By the Executive which has applied it's 'privilege' and 'order' to skirt it, by Congress who feels that all they require is the will do do something and get away with it because they can, and by the Judicial which legislates from
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David Robins
Good stuff, although he should have gone further back and included Lincoln. Covers FDR's gold seizure, several illegal wars declared by presidents, warrantless wiretapping, Wilson's suppression of opinions against WWI, Truman's seizure of the steel mills, infringement on states' rights, forced busing, unconstitutional improvements including roads and bridges to nowhere, banning prayer from public schools, the draft, medical marijuana, and other tramplings of the Constitution (especially with war ...more
Michelle
Enjoyed this thoroughly with a few caveats: I wish it'd been set up more chronologically to tell a "story" more rather than just being disjointed Supreme Court case reports; Having a reference to Obama on the cover is false advertising, he's really not mentioned in the book; and I'm not at all sure I agree with his Brown v. Board of Education analysis. Rest is rock solid and will be on my high schoolers' reading lists for American history and government.
Brandy
Very informative and interesting...and sad. The book gives a chronological account of ways in which the constitution has been deliberately overridden. Some of it, especially the occurances in the distant past, around the turn of the century and a little beyond, are shocking to me. The more current situations are less shocking and more "expected". Sad.
Chris
Aug 30, 2009 Chris marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A recommendation from Robby. Well-written and provocative. Builds awareness of how long and in how many different settings the Constitution has been completely set aside in favor of whoever was in power making a grab to extend their reach. Includes the entire text of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and additional amendments.
Tami
This book was a little over my head intellectually, but I skimmed it and got the basic message of what the author is saying. I enjoyed it and learned alot! I realize have lived so many years in plain ignorance to politics. I have more love and reverence for the Constitution and for our Founding Fathers than ever before.
Kristen Hill
This book was very interesting. It brought to life some parts of American history that I was not taught in school. I also liked that the author was not for one side or the other but he skewered both democrats and repulicans alike. Some of the law went over my head but ultimately it was a good book that I really enjoyed.
Bob
It's not the more recent things that surprised me but the older things. First off just learning how FDR outlawed gold ownership and the resulting trial before the Supreme Court. But also going all the way back to the whiskey rebellion. This book should be required reading before you vote in the next election!
Dave
A very interesting look at how Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives in the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches have trampled and disregarded the Constitution of the US.
David
An excellent review of 12 different "cases" where the federal government /way/ overstepped their constitutional authority in the last 100 years or so. Very easy to read.
Dan
Sep 01, 2008 Dan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Lent from a hallmate in college. Enjoying the historical process of how our country has shifted politically. Although can be tiring at times, great analysis so far.
Brent
Every American should take the time to read this book to understand what has happened to our so-called republican (federal) form of government. Eye-opening.
Mike Smith
A little one sided at times it still is an informative read. Also contains a copy of the constitution which everyone should read.
Craig J.
Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush by Thomas E. Woods Jr. (2008)
Andy
Very Interesting examples. Would have rated it higher, but some chapters were a bit dry.
Mike Lieberman
got 50 pages into it and stopped. it was a bit heavy on the law for me.
Lu
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as to-read
Assult on our freedoms from WW to present
Stormy
It's controversial. It's a good read.
Spstudio
Apr 13, 2011 Spstudio is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and well documented.
Bill
Eye Opening Excellent
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Professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, as well as The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era and The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy.
He hold four Ivy League degrees, including an A.B. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Columbia. He lives with hi
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