In more than 230 years of statehood, the United States has created its own distinctive way of living and governing--a way which its citizens cherish, but about whose essence, for want of definition, they frequently disagree. Charles Beard offered, in a synthesis of his life work, a permanent statement on the nature of the American Republic. To carry out his purpose, Beard discusses, among other subjects, the making of one nation out of many peoples and nationalities, the letter and the spirit of the Constitution, the rights and liberties of citizens, the theory of checks and balances, the role of political parties, the Republic in the world of nations, and the coming fate and fortune of America. Above all, he deals philosophically with the eternal conflict between power and freedom, security and liberty. In form, the book is a series of conversations among friends. The author and two public-spirited citizens carry the main burden of the discourse, and other figures are introduced to present special but prevailing points of view. In this way the reader not only feels that he is participating in a search for the truth, but discovers that his own point of view has here an able sponsor. Beard has taken a theme of majestic scope and presented it in terms that are warm and human and immediately relevant.

chapter I|13 pages

We, The People . . .

chapter II|13 pages

Establish this Constitution . . .

chapter III|15 pages

Democracy and Rights under the Constitution

chapter V|16 pages

Lincoln Exemplifies Constitutionalism

chapter VI|18 pages

A More Perfect Union and Justice

chapter VII|16 pages

Domestic Tranquility and Common Defense

chapter VIII|13 pages

Promote the General Welfare

chapter IX|15 pages

The Blessings of Liberty

chapter X|15 pages

Rights of American Citizens

chapter XI|15 pages

Freedom of Speech and Press

chapter XII|14 pages

Religious Liberty

chapter XIII|14 pages

Power and the Control of Power

chapter XIV|15 pages

Congress as Power

chapter XV|16 pages

The Executive as Power

chapter XVI|19 pages

The Judiciary as Power

chapter XVII|19 pages

Critique of the Federal System

chapter XVIII|16 pages

Political Parties as Agencies and Motors

chapter XIX|25 pages

The Economic Underwriting of the Constitution

chapter XX|29 pages

The Republic in the World of Nations

chapter XXI|13 pages

The Fate and Fortunes of Our Republic