Constitutional Myths: What We Get Wrong and How to Get It Right
by Ray Raphael
AVAILABILITY: Readily available
Publication Date: September 2015
Publisher: New Press
Description: Americans on both sides of the aisle love to reference the Constitution as the ultimate source of truth. But which truth? What did the framers really have in mind? In a book that author R.B. Bernstein calls essential reading, acclaimed historian Ray Raphael places the Constitution in its historical context, dispensing little-known facts and debunking popular preconceived notions.
For each myth, Raphael first notes the kernel of truth it represents, since most myths have some basis in fact. Then he presents a big BUT - the larger context that reveals what the myth distorts. What did the framers see as the true role of government? What did they think of taxes? At the Constitutional Convention, how did they mix principles with politics? Did James Madison really father the Constitution? Did the framers promote a Bill of Rights? Do the so-called "Federalist Papers" reveal the Constitution's inner meaning?
An authoritative and entertaining book, which should appeal equally to armchair historians and professionals in the field.
Ray Raphael is the author of numerous books, including 'An Everyday History of Somewhere', 'The Men from the Boys: Rites of Passage in Male America', and 'Tree Talk: The People and Politics of Timber'. He lives in northern California.
Review(s): "Constitutional Myths" reveals what our founding document really says and how we should apply it today." - Booklist
"Wonderfully lucid and highly informative." - Edward J Larson, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of "A Magnificent Catastrophe"
"[A]n adept corrective to some of the most strident imbalances in contemporary debates over the implications of the Founding." - Political Science Quarterly
"An extraordinarily important and nuanced work of history that places the Constitution, and the men who created it, in their proper eighteenth-century context." - Richard R. Beeman, author of "Plain Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution"