As you read through The U.S. Constitution with your 5 volume set of The Founders' Constitution, you will undoubtedly come across parts of the Constitution that you don't understand or just want to gain more insight on. This is where your newly acquired set of The Founders' Constitution will come in very handy. Simply flip to the Table of Contents, look up the clause or phrase you are interested in learning more about, and you will have instant access to the original intent of the Founders including their reasoning, debates, letters, and much more.
If, for example, you wanted to study the principle of taxation from the founders prospective, you could turn to Volume Two of The Founders' Constitution and find 63 pages filled with 28 different articles on this subject. These were written between 1786 and 1833 and include debates, speeches, minutes, letters, and commentaries. You will see how they clearly defend the original intent of the Founders and warn against some of the very same destructive arguments that are heard today.
The Founders' Constitution could not be easier to navigate because it is conveniently arranged according to Article, Section, Clause. In addition, it contains an index of Constitutional Provisions, a table of cases, and an index of Authors and Documents. This truly is an invaluable set of books for any American who really cares about preserving their liberty.
Popular Basis of Political Authority
If all men are by nature perfectly free and equal, there can then be no claim grounded in nature of one to rule another. To be sure, there may be attributes of superiority--age, looks, name, connections--that endow some individuals with political influence. And, as John Locke noted, "Excellency of Parts and Merit may place others above the Common Level." Yet these differences among human beings cannot outweigh the politically decisive corollary of original freedom and equality: it is consent and consent alone that makes a member of any commonwealth, and accordingly no one has a right to govern another without his consent. Whether that consent is explicit or implicit, Locke explained (no. 1), does not affect the basic principle, and in either case the consent given is necessarily conditional. An individual can no more agree to eschew measures of self-help for preservation than a community can agree to forgo measures to save itself "from the attempts and designs of any Body, even of their Legislators, whenever they shall be so foolish, or so wicked, as to lay and carry on designs against the Liberties and Properties of the Subject." The powers of governors are fiduciary in character; the trustees are necessarily and properly accountable to those who have vested trust in them.
Philip B. Kurland (ed.)
Philip B. Kurland (1922-1996) the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the College and the Law School, is credited with fundamentally reshaping our understanding of the U.S. Constitution, particularly its system of checks and balances, the separation of church and state and the importance of judicial restraint. He was an internationally renowned scholar of the U.S. Constitution and a University faculty member for more than 40 years.
Kurland received his B.A. in 1942 from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. in 1944 from Harvard.
He began his legal career after graduation from Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. He served as law clerk for Judge Jerome Frank of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Justice Frankfurter. After working at the Department of Justice in 1946, he practiced law in New York City. He turned to teaching in 1950 and was on the faculty at Northwestern before joining Chicago's Law School faculty as Associate Professor in 1953; he was promoted to Professor in 1956. In 1973, he was appointed the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the College, and in 1977, he was named Distinguished Service Professor. He won the University's Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1990.
Kurland was a consultant to various entities, including the Conference of Chief Justices and the Department of Justice. From 1967 to 1974, he was chief consultant to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, which was charged with, among other duties, studying the Watergate break-in.
He founded the Supreme Court Review in 1960 and served as its editor until 1988. That same year, together with Ralph Lerner, Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, he won the Gordon J. Laing Award from the Press for editing The Founders' Constitution, a five-volume set of materials on the origins of the Constitution. Other books Kurland wrote or edited include Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States (1951), Religion and the Law (1962), Of Life and Law and Other Things That Matter (1968), Felix Frankfurter on the Supreme Court (1970), Politics, the Constitution and the Warren Court (1970), Mr. Justice Frankfurter and the Constitution (1971), Watergate and the Constitution (1978) and Cable speech (1984).
Ralph Lerner (ed.)
Ralph Lerner is the Benjamin Franklin Professor in the College, and professor in the Committee on Social Thought, at the University of Chicago.
He attended public school in Chicago, received his degrees in political science at the University of Chicago, and had a year of post-graduate study of medieval Hebrew at the University of Cambridge. He has served in the U.S. Army. All of his teaching has been at the University of Chicago, apart from visiting appointments at Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard universities and a visiting lectureship at the Institut Raymond Aron. He has received fellowship awards from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Humanities Center. He has received a Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.