NOTE: The following post was sent to us via email from our former member Burk Ketcham who moved to East Coast but still participates in reading our book selections. I posted his comments here for him. Ron
I want to thank Jim for his book selection. I gained for the first time in my life a much better understanding of the evolution of this country as a democracy and of the Founding Fathers who were the major participants. Thomas Jefferson does not fare too well in the author’s opinion. John Adams, well versed in history, had a much clearer vision of how this country should evolve and the inequities that might and have followed We all knew of the more famous statesmen/patriots. Joseph Ellis has added two more, Jay and Morris.
It is very evident hat Ellis has an encyclopedic familiarity with the events leading up to the ratification of the constitution. That made for interesting reading as he wrote mostly about the major participants and their thoughts and actions. “American Dialogue” is about a human drama. And as he and others have noted the casting was perfect for a Tony performance..And I would add his writing is worthy of a Pulitzer.
I found the chapter Immaculate Misconceptions a very clear denunciation of originalism as a basis for Supreme Court decisions. Clearly, the issues dealt with when the Constitution was drafted are in most cases not relevant to present day problems. So making decisions must be based on a living document not as Jefferson said it would be folly for a “…civilized society to remain under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
All and all a very enlightening read.