- America on Trial - A Defense of the Founding
- Reilly reveals the underlying drama: the conflict of might makes right versus right makes might
- America's decline, he claims, is not to be discovered in the Founding principles, but in their disavowal
The Founding of the American Republic is on trial. Critics say it was a poison pill with a time-release formula; we are its victims. Its principles are responsible for the country's moral and social disintegration because they were based on the Enlightenment falsehood of radical individual autonomy.
In this well-researched book, Robert Reilly declares: not guilty. To prove his case, he traces the lineage of the ideas that made the United States, and its ordered liberty, possible. These concepts were extraordinary when they first burst upon the ancient world: the Judaic oneness of God, who creates ex nihilo and imprints his image on man; the Greek rational order of the world based upon the Reason behind it; and the Christian arrival of that Reason (Logos) incarnate in Christ. These may seem a long way from the American Founding, but Reilly argues that they are, in fact, its bedrock. Combined, they mandated the exercise of both freedom and reason.
These concepts were further developed by thinkers in the Middle Ages, who formulated the basic principles of constitutional rule. Why were they later rejected by those claiming the right to absolute rule, then reclaimed by the American Founders, only to be rejected again today? Reilly reveals the underlying drama: the conflict of might makes right versus right makes might. America's decline, he claims, is not to be discovered in the Founding principles, but in their disavowal.
"This book is a defense of the principles of natural law, morality, and natural religion—i.e., reason and faith—as the foundation of American policy from the beginning and a historical 'big picture' of their classical, medieval, and modern origins. The argument is unanswerable, the documentation massive, and the issue prophetic in import."
— Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Boston College; Author, Doors in the Walls of the World
"It would be hard to imagine a more robust or comprehensive account, as well as defense, of the deep roots of the American Founding than Robert Reilly provides in this relatively compact treatment. In the current debates among Catholics and others about the presence—or absence—of natural law in the constitution of American liberty and rights, his strong, steady voice warrants particular attention."
— Robert Royal, Ph.D., President, Faith & Reason Institute; Author, A Deeper Vision
"It's become fashionable in Christian or Catholic intellectual circles to condemn the American Founding as just so much bad Enlightenment philosophy. Many young people now think our current cultural maladies are simply fruits from the original poisoned tree. Robert Reilly shows convincingly that these charges are misguided."
— Jay Richards, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute; Author, Money, Greed and God
- Author: Robert Reilly
- Pages: 384
- Format: Hardback