Beck brings archaic papers out of the dust for the modern reader in 'The Original Argument'

By Alivia Whitaker

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 11 2011 2:00 p.m. MDT

"THE ORIGINAL ARGUMENT," by Glenn Beck with Joshua Charles, Threshold Editions, $16, 464 pages

From birth, Americans expect certain inalienable rights. They are taught the ideas of the American forefathers who "formed a more perfect union" from a tender age, but how many Americans are aware of the published argument leading up to the ratification of the constitution?

Glenn Beck attacks this lack of knowledge in his new book, “The Original Argument,” which is scheduled to be released Tuesday, June 14. It is a “modern-day translation” of the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, who originally published the papers under the pseudonym, ‘Publius’ starting in 1787.

The importance of the Federalist Papers is explained in Beck’s introduction to his book, “The Great American Experience, A User’s Guide.” Beck very clearly and engagingly teaches the reader the purpose of the Federalist Papers: “to write and publish a series of papers answering the criticisms being lobbied against the constitution and defending the need for a federal government.”

It’s obvious Beck is passionate about bringing the content of these important papers to the modern reader.

In the introduction, Beck says, “What the Federalist Papers offer to us today is a guide to understanding the Founders’ core constitutional principles, the theories behind their words, the why, the where and how of the foundation of America.”

“The Original Argument” takes what many consider boring and archaic essays and brings them to the modern forefront. Instead of the entire set of 85, Beck selected 33 of the essays and divides them into chapters by topic. Ideas like, “The Balance of Power,” “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom” show that the content from the Federalist Papers is most definitely relevant today.

The beauty of the book is in its readability. The whole point was to take the content and “translate” it for the modern-day reader. Each chapter begins with the number of the paper, explains the overall message, gives the original quote and lists how it is relevant today.

Of course, Beck brings his own ideas to the page as well as references, definitions and insights from historians and even Shakespeare.

The book helps readers have a better overall understanding of the Federalist Papers and their concepts. Those with a strong knowledge of early American history may be familiar with the papers, but will also be interested by the discussion of ideologies in the book as well as the format they are presented in.

Beck brings a different type of reading to the table with “The Original Argument,” one that can be valued by many types of readers.

Livi Whitaker is a freelance writer and blogs at www.thebrightbit.com.

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