The still-unfolding story of America’s Constitution is a history of heroes and villains—the flawed visionaries who inspired and crafted liberty’s safeguards, and the shortsighted opportunists who defied them. Those stories are known by few today.
In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensible provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution. For example:
• The Origination Clause says that all bills to raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, but contempt for the clause ensured the passage of Obamacare.
• The Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the NSA now collects our private data without a warrant.
• The Legislative Powers Clause means that only Congress can pass laws, but unelected agencies now produce ninety-nine out of every one hundred pages of legal rules imposed on the American people.
Lee’s cast of characters includes a former Ku Klux Klansman, who hijacked the Establishment Clause to strangle Catholic schools; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who called the Second Amendment a fraud; and the revered president who began his first of four terms by threating to shatter the balance of power between Congress and the president, and who began his second term by vowing to do the same to the Supreme Court.
Fortunately, the Constitution has always had its defenders. Senator Lee tells the story of how Andrew Jackson, noted for his courage in duels and politics, stood firm against the unconstitutional expansion of federal powers. He brings to life Ben Franklin’s genius for compromise at a deeply divided constitutional convention. And he tells how in 2008, a couple of unlikely challengers persuaded the Supreme Court to rediscover the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.
Sections of the Constitution may have been forgotten, but it’s not too late to bring them back—if only we remember why we once demanded them and how we later lost them. Drawing on his experience working in all three branches of government, Senator Lee makes a bold case for resurrecting the Lost Constitution to restore and defend our fundamental liberties.
From the Hardcover edition.
““Anyone interested in what’s gone wrong in Washington, and how to fix it, needs to read this valuable work.” —Glenn Beck “Defenders of the Constitution, this is a must-read book for you. Most Americans know that our federal government is far too big and far more authoritative than our founders ever intended, and this book shows you how that happened. Buy this book, give it to friends or relatives, and arm yourselves in the fight to restore our Constitution.” —Mark Levin “Senator Mike Lee knows how to tell a story. Combining historical fact and his own legal expertise with imagined dialogues and settings, Lee brings the sometimes dry and archaic debates of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia and other episodes to life, and with them the Constitution itself. This is truly an inspired, fascinating, and important book.” —Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center; director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution “Mike Lee won election to the Senate by traveling around his state giving talks about the Constitution. Now he has written a most unusual book, which interweaves lively histories of what he calls the lost clauses of the Constitution with biting critiques of such modern issues as delegation of legislative power to agencies, NSA data collection, church and state, and Obamacare. Readers may not agree with all his conclusions, but they will encounter serious history and a conscientious attempt to grapple with modern issues in light of an enduring Constitution.” —Michael W. McConnell, professor of law; director of the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford Law School “Our Lost Constitution is one of the most fascinating and important books on our founding document that I have ever read. From early childhood on, Senator Mike Lee has studied and honored the United States Constitution. In this book he has combined history and law in an exceptional analysis of the dangers that challenge our constitutional system of government today, why the departure from the founders’ vision is so detrimental to every American, and how conscientious public officials and concerned citizens can and must join in in restoring obedience to our national charter, which is essential to protecting our liberty and making our democratic republic work again.” —Edwin Meese III, former U. S. Attorney General “Senator Mike Lee took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and this book proves that he takes that oath seriously. Read it, and he will walk you through the key moments in the erosion of our constitutional safeguards. Read it, and he will show you that the cause is not lost.” —Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College”