: A Tale of Today in America, the Oldest Democracy Ever, Yet a Decaying Empire
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An observer’s thoughts on America’s perceived moral decline and its government’s tendency toward autocracy.

According to Howard, America began sliding toward autocracy soon after it was founded, thanks to Chief Justice John Marshall, a John Adams appointee, whose federalistic decisions helped to concentrate power in the executive branch. Add to that a movement away from America’s "basicly (sic) Christian moral heritage," coupled with meddling by liberal and/or socialist elements within the government, and Howard sees the country rapidly heading toward the fate that met the ancient democracies in Greece and Rome. To put the current situation in context, Howard devotes large sections to explanations of the governments of the United States and Britain, as well as outlines key differences between ancient and modern democracies. However, he fails to provide many of the factual underpinnings necessary to back up his claims, such as the idea that "the total removal of limitations of the male democratic franchise" (i.e. allowing African-Americans and women to vote) limited democracy. Some of Howard’s other ideas that lack support include the notion that the intent of the Constitution’s framers more than 200 years ago should be the main factor in assessing a law’s constitutionality. Similarly, it’s debatable whether or not the British have “diluted their traditions” by allowing large numbers of immigrants into their country, or even that the United States is in a state of moral decline. These assertions are very much open to dispute, yet the author treats them as givens. This book begs for citations, or at least a bibliography, but the facts to back up the claims simply are not there.

Lacks punch because it lacks supporting evidence.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2001
ISBN: 978-0-7388-5189-2
Program: Kirkus Indie
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