Book Review Number 33

What Would the Founders Do? – Richard Brookhiser

The author poses a series of contemporary political questions and then attempts to discern how the founding fathers might have responded. This book was published in 2006, before the Trump era so it does not address the current impeachment or general political crisis we are facing. It does however address a number of subjects that have become much more hyper-partisan under the Trump Administration – free press, religion, abortion, immigration, free trade, etc.

The author covers a wide range of issues such as God and man, money and business, war and peace, education, race and identity, as well as other political challenges. He attempts to describe the world in which the founders lived, what their experiences were, how that played into forming their worldview, and how they might approach the issues we face. He does a good job of describing their lives within the historical context of the times. He discusses how that influenced the issues, structure, and language of the Constitution.

I endorse the book as a good and thought provoking read. It represents a clear description of the hopes, fears, conflicts, and compromises the founders wrestled with in their daily lives and the drafting of a constitutional document. It makes very clear they feared exactly the kind of political conflict and the potential for a president who might abuse the power of his office we are dealing with. Of course they could not imagine the kind of coordinated media manipulation and misinformation campaign that is possible, and in deed being exploited, by our president and other unscrupulous politicians today.


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