America’s Counter-Revolution Reviewed

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Independent historian (and old friend) Joseph R. Stromberg reviewed America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited at The American Conservative magazine website. He opens “The Federalists’ Revenge” with:

America’s Counter-Revolution, dedicated “To the constitutionalists of all parties,” gives new meaning to the word pithy. In 20 short chapters (most of which were previously columns in the Freeman and elsewhere) Sheldon Richman achieves a remarkable thematic coherence, giving the reader a nice window into American constitutional argument and thus into American history.

Building on Arthur E. Ekirch’s Decline of American Liberalism (1955), Richman concludes that the Federalists gave America a vague constitution having the appearance of limited powers but marred by implied ones: a “living constitution” for conservative nationalists. The Federalists, recall, set imperial greatness above liberty and thought real limits on power “impossible”; so-called Anti-Federalists opposed the rule of self-nominated aristocrats and believed in dispersed power.

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Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest book is America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited.