“The infant periods of most nations are buried in silence, or veiled in fable, and perhaps the world has lost little it should regret. But the origins of the American Republic contain lessons of which posterity ought not to be deprived.” —James Madison
We often hear laments that our politicians no longer honor
their pledge to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United
States. This is backward. The Constitution was never written for
politicians. Our political leaders have no motivation to abide by a two
hundred year old restraining order. Americans must enforce the supreme
law of the land. The first outsized words of the Constitution readWe the People.
It was always meant to be ours, not the government’s. It is each and
every American’s obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution
of the United States.
The Center for the Constitution at
Montpelier conducts a series of seminars on the Constitution. For those who
cannot attend in person, the Center has created a free course on their website. The interactive online course includes text
instructions, video discussions with constitutional scholars, and quizzes to
test the student’s knowledge. I have taken the first of seven sessions and
found it to be accurate, not politicized, and paced to keep the student’s
interest. The seminars and online course were originally designed for teachers,
but work well for any inquisitive student of the Constitution. Continuing Education
Units (CEUs) are available after successful completion of the entire course.
The course is free, but it cost $25 to claim CEUs.
Constituting America is a website
dedicated to the Constitution, with a special emphasis on American youth. You
will find hundreds of learned essays on each section of the Constitution, the
Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, and every amendment. Our
Constitution Rocksby Juliette Turner is an excellent youth guide to
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution is a clause by clause analysis of the
Constitution, including the Founders intent and a crisp summary of court
opinions related to the clause. This is a great reference book that deserves to
be in every constitutional library.
Tempest at Dawn is my novelization of the Constitutional
Convention. Many people enjoy learning history told as a story … and this was an
intriguing story filled with great characters. Tempest at Dawn is as historically accurate as possible, especially
during the debates. I chose the novel form to bring the Framers to life as real
people that were struggling with a massive challenge. Tempest at Dawn has 146
Amazon customer reviews for 4.5 stars and 435 ratings on Goodreads
for 3.9 stars. The book is on the Glenn Beck reading list, and has been used as
a reference text in many college and high school courses.
There are dozens of good history books
on the Constitutional Convention. One of the best is Decision in Philadelphia by Christopher Collier. If you can find a
copy, another great history book is the out-of-print Great Rehearsal by Carl Van Doren.
Hopefully, these sources will help
those who want to learn more about the framing, ratification, and meaning of
the Constitution. If you want a lighter source of training, Barney Fife has
posted a YouTube lecture on the preamble. He does his usual capable job.