Monday, May 03, 2010

Book review - The Critical Period of American History.

Just finished up John Fiske's book The Critical Period of American History. This 350 page book was published in 1888 and covers the time in American history from 1783 to 1789. Mr. Fiske does an excellent job with his topic.

The book starts off with a brief summary of the effects of the Revolution on both the United States and Great Britain. Mr. Fiske then explores the weaknesses and problems that were associated with the Articles of Confederation. Soon it becomes obvious that something must be done. The last part of the book covers the Constitutional Convention and the battle to ratify the United States Constitution. George Washington is inaugurated as the first president on the final page. I found one passage in the book to be of particular interest:

While speaking of the fear of a centralized government, "To the familiar state governments which had so long possessed their love and allegiance, it was super-adding a new and untried government, which it was feared would swallow up the states and everywhere extinguish local independence. Nor can it be said that such fears were unreasonable. Our federal government has indeed shown a strong tendency to encroach upon the province of the state governments, especially since our late Civil War. Too much centralization is our danger today..." Very interesting coming just 20 short years after the close of the war and over 120 years before the present. Seems to solidify the contention that the war effectively ended states rights and that the Federal Government has been broadening its power since.

All in all The Critical Period of American History was well written and flowed smoothly. Mr. Fiske wrote a book well worthy of anyone interested in the founding era of our nation. This book gets two thumbs up.

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