by David Gordon, Mises.org
[The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. By Kevin R.C. Gutzman. Regnery Publishing, 2007. Xiii + 258 pgs.]
Kevin Gutzman gives his readers much more than they had a right to expect. The “Politically Incorrect Guide” series in which his book appears aims at a popular audience: its goal is to correct commonly held myths of leftist propaganda.
Gutzman eminently fulfills this goal, but his book cannot be called an elementary work. Quite the contrary, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution is a major contribution to American constitutional history.
Gutzman is a leading authority on the Virginia ratification debates on the Constitution, and he uses his research to great effect. He has been much influenced by the pioneering originalist scholar Raoul Berger, but he strengthens and extends Berger’s views.
The principal thesis of the book is that the Jeffersonian, states’ rights understanding of America’s founding and the Constitution is correct. When the American colonies assembled in the Continental Congress and adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, they did not create a new nation, Abraham Lincoln to the contrary notwithstanding.Details