I just finished reading the book, 7 Events That Made America America: And Proved That the Founding Fathers Were Right All Along, by Professor Larry Schweikart. What a fun, interesting, and informative book to read. I highly recommend it. Professor Schweikart is the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, a 700+ page tome that I am about 75% finished with. I’ll certainly review that one when I’m finished, but I interrupted the reading of it with this shorter book of just 216 pages.
What are the 7 events that Professor Schweikart argues that have made America America? Let’s look briefly at a couple of interesting chapters.
The first chapter is a brief study of little noticed United States President Martin Van Buren, father of the modern Democratic Party. Schweikart identifies Van Buren as America’s first liberal (or progressive) President. As an aside, I wish those on the left would settle on one title because, as Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Van Buren was, in today’s vernacular, a consummate politician. He was the nightmare that Alexis de Tocqueville forecast in his 1830’s book, Democracy in America. De Tocqueville said, “When those in power realize that they can perpetuate themselves in power through taxing, spending, and electing, your democracy will be dead.”
That formula pretty much sums up Martin Van Buren. Van Buren astutely recognized that if the Democrat Party could utilize the government treasury to provide jobs and benefits to the masses, he could seduce them into supporting anything. Van Buren didn’t stop there. Systematically he began to set up newspapers across the United States that were controlled and in most cases owned outright by the Democratic Party. Believe it or not, these papers were even more biased and slanted than many of today’s papers. And a number of them still exist. Almost all carry the name Democrat in their title, such as the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Chapter three is about the Jamestown Flood of 1889 which caused a dam to break above Jamestown, Pennsylvania and release 20 million gallons of water on the unfortunate inhabitants of this steelmaking community. To quote directly from the book, “The destruction was near total: over 2,200 people were killed, and the waters caused $17 million in damage. It constituted the worst single loss of civilian life in America prior to 9/11. The flood destroyed the railroad, along with 1,600 homes and four square miles of Johnstown proper. After the damage had been done, at least 27,000 people needed care, shelter and food.”
This is just the beginning of the chapter. Professor Schweikart proceeds to tell the amazing story of the recovery effort that took place without the assistance of FEMA or any other entity from the Federal government and he contrasts the effectiveness of the effort with that of Hurricane Katrina. It is a surprising and captivating story.
Other chapters are just as interesting. They carry titles such as “Ike Has a Heart Attack, Triggering Dietary Nannyism” and “A Steel Guitar Rocks the Iron Curtain.”
7 Events That Made America America is an interesting, sometimes humorous book that is well worth reading. And when you get to the Professor’s last chapter titled, “Conclusions,” he provides some insight into the intentions of the Founders and why they were bent upon limiting the power of government over the citizens of America. There’s no doubt in his mind that “…if the government had ever tried to meddle in the private affairs of individuals the Founders would have fought against it.” He goes on from there to explain the flawed rationalization for the vast expansion of government over our lives.
For example, reference is often made by liberals to the phrase “promote the general Welfare” in the United States Constitution. In fact, this phrase does not appear in the Constitution, but only in the preamble, and no preamble is ever considered to be a part of the document itself. It has no power or force in law. What an incredible stretch.
The second door that liberal judges and their supporters use to expand the enumerated powers of the Constitution is the “necessary and proper” clause found in Article I, Section 8. It reads:
“The Congress shall have Power—To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Professor Schweikart observes, “Note that the clause refers to the ‘foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution.’ Therefore, the so-called elastic clause cannot apply to any powers exercised outside the narrow definitions of the Constitution. Unless the actions themselves are delineated in the Constitution, they are illegal.”
What the good professor is pointing out is that the Founders would have been aghast that the Federal government of the United States would think it had any legal power to tell us what to eat, how to get our medical services, what kind of car to drive, whether we can drain a swamp on property we own, what kind of light bulbs we choose to use in our home, etc., etc.
As I said, this is a fun book to read. It’s highly entertaining and provides a strong reminder of how far we have traveled from the enduring principles established for government by our Founders. Please read and pass along to a friend. It’s time for the re-education of Americans in the values that made the United States of America the greatest nation in the history of the world.
I’d even recommend it for our President, Barack Obama. He’d learn much.