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An inspiring and revelatory look at the document that has made our country the longest surviving democracy in the history of civilization: The Constitution of the United States.
The history of democracy is a history of failure. The United States holds the record at 230 years, yet the document at the nation's center is one that we take for granted. Due to a combination of heightened frustration, moves to skirt the constitutional process, and a widespread disconnect between the people and their constitutional conscience, Lane and Oreskes warn us our system is at risk.
The Genius of America looks at the Constitution's history relative to this current crisis. Starting with the eleven years between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution's adoption, they show how our near failure to create a loosely knit nation led the framers to devise a system that takes human nature into account. Next they provide examples of how we have weathered crises in the past, from early attempts at political tyranny to the Civil War. Finally they turn to two periods, one of great consensus (from Roosevelt's New Deal through Johnson's Great Society) and another of division (from Reagan through George W. Bush), both of which demonstrate the Constitution's effectiveness.
In the final assessment, Lane and Oreskes challenge us to let this great document work as it was designedin times of change and stasis. They hold our leaders accountable, calling on them to stop fanning the flames of division. And while evenhanded in its presentation, The Genius of America reminds us the Constitution is our national glue.
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