The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Came to Have All the Answers - eBook
The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Came to Have All the Answers - eBook  -     By: David Sehat
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Simon & Schuster / 2015 / ePub
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The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Came to Have All the Answers - eBook

Simon & Schuster / 2015 / ePub

In Stock
Stock No: WW67131EB

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Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 9781476779799
ISBN-13: 9781476779799

Publisher's Description

In The Jefferson Rule, historian David Sehat describes how everyone from liberals to conservatives, secessionists to unionists have sought out the Founding Fathers to defend their policies.

Beginning with the debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton over the future of the nation, and continuing throughout our history—the Civil War, the World Wars, the New Deal, the Reagan Revolution, and Obama and the Tea Party—many politicos have asked, “What would the Founders do?” instead of “What is the common good today?” Both the Right and the Left have used the Founders to sort through such issues as voting rights, campaign finance, free speech, war and peace, gun control, and taxes, though those Fathers were a querulous and divided group who rarely agreed.

In this “sobering, informative study” (Publisher’s Weekly), Sehat shows why coming to terms with the past would be the start of a productive debate. The result is, simply put, “required reading for those desperate for sane, intelligent political arguments” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). The Jefferson Rule “takes the reader through an engaging and insightful survey course in American history” (The Christian Science Monitor).

Author Bio

David Sehat is Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University. His first book, The Myth of American Religious Freedom, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians. Visit

Editorial Reviews

"[A] crisply written and incisive account of the uses and abuses of the Founders."
"Sehat writes masterfully of American political history."
"David Sehat has found a fresh, meaningful way to write a concise history of American politics. The Jefferson Rule instructs, enlightens, and entertains."
"A highly amusing and anecdotal narrative about the legacy—both real and invented—of our divided and factious Founding Fathers. David Sehat goes from the tea party to the Tea Party, and offers a coherent recounting of a largely incoherent yet bold and boisterous history. In limpid prose, he examines the ways in which, in every era of US history, the lofty ideals that the Founding Fathers promoted, and the tortuous conflicts they addressed, have been twisted and manipulated by politicians—from both sides of the political divide—for their own purposes. A fun yet profound ride from the colony to today."
The Jefferson Rule is a fun, challenging, and thoughtful book . . . a page-turner . . . Sehat provides readers an easy to understand, pleasure-to-read discussion of how misinterpreting the intentions, words, ideas and beliefs of the ‘founding fathers’ has created countless problems for the United States as it progressed over the past 239 years.”
"In recent times, the Tea Party and other groups have continued to invoke the Founders in debates over gun control, income inequality, religious liberty, and a myriad of other topics. David Sehat has shown why such attempts to channel the Founders are dangerous….This book is a needed corrective that should be read widely and taken to heart."
“A careful, and fascinating, historical analysis of one aspect of American exceptionalism . . . well worth reading.”

"Sehat convincingly argues that the founders were fallible and not succinct in the ways they wanted the nation to be governed. . . . Highly recommended for political junkies, historians, and rhetoricians."
“The author makes a strong case that forefather worship has had a pernicious effect on our politics throughout American history. . . . [the book]could not be timelier. . . . Sehat takes the reader through an engaging and insightful survey course in American history, pointing out where he believes ‘founding fanaticism’ crops up as the last refuge of politicians who can’t make a more rational or contemporary case for their beliefs.”
"Sehat ably shows how the exploitation of the founders debases political debate and neglects policy evaluation—required reading for those desperate for sane, intelligent political arguments."
“A sobering, informative study of concepts from America’s political origins too often viewed with rose-tinted glasses.”
"Please, dear politicians, read David Sehat’s The Jefferson Rule and stop pretending that everything you say, believe and propose is exactly what the Founders of our nation would say, believe and propose. The Founders themselves would be amazed and appalled by this. Sehat has written a splendid book—important, well-argued, and offered at the right moment. ‘Politicians create the Founders in their own image’, Sehat writes. They do, and they should stop."
"In this beautifully written and provocative book, David Sehat gives the rhetoric about the Founders a history, spanning from Jefferson to Calhoun to FDR to Reagan to the Tea Party. Sehat convincingly argues that the world of the Founders has long been dead, and that Founders rhetoric dumbs down our political discourse."
"The Founders’ framework is distorted and devalued, David Sehat shows, when we mistakenly treat Jefferson and his cohort as mirrors for whatever political outlooks we advance today. This book clarifies the difference between the use and the abuse of history."

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