Recommended Reading

The following are among those works that offer primary documents and materials showing the linkage between the Western tradition and the colonial experience in the development of American Constitutionalism:

  • The Founders’ Constitution, ed. Philip B, Kurland and Ralph Lerner, 5 vols (Chicago, 1987; paperback edition; Indianapolis, 2000)
  • The Roots of Liberty, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Columbia, MO, 1993)
  • Colonial Origins of the American Constitution, ed. Donald Lutz (Indianapolis, 1998)
  • The American Republic: Primary Sources, ed. Bruce Frohnen (Indianapolis, 2002)

Among other works that trace the varied contributions to the development of American constitutions are:

  • James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice (Indianapolis, 2000)
  • Donald Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism (Baton Rouge, 1988)
  • Russell Kirk, The Roots of American Order (Washington, DC, 1991; repr. Wilmington, DE, 2003)
  • Trevor Colburn, The Lamp of Experience (Indianapolis, 1998)
  • Davis H. Fischer, Albion’s Seed  (New York, 1989)
  • M. Stanton Evans, The Theme Is Freedom (Washington, DC 1994)

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution may be the cornerstones of our form of government, but they, in turn, owe a great deal to the principles expressed in some of our earliest political writings.


The best of our traditions provide the additional knowledge that things which have had a good reputation over the course of time are more trustworthy than untried and untested theories.

Larry P Arnn

“Put another way, most of the documents at the center of American political theory – and the values, concerns, and preferences they embody – emerge out of the experiences and circumstances of the American people at different times and places. As such, these documents are integral to coherently explicating the American political tradition; indeed,  they constitute its essence.”

George W Carey

“America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Alexis de Tocqueville

“I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

Ronald Reagan, Epitaph