By Sara Laub
"The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Great Ideals That Changed the World" written by Cleon Skousen is a very interesting book. It obtains a perspective of the United States Constitution from the founding fathers point of view. The title of the book gives a viewpoint that the world had not advanced much until the Constitution was put in place and there were 28 ideals that made those advancements possible. The founding fathers had educated themselves with many philosophers and evaluated other governments in the world and came to understand the need for a balanced government.
The balanced government is defined as a republic where the 3 heads of the government, legislative, executive and judicial, each play a role to balance the other out. The political parties in turn balance each other out as well, making sure there is not too much or too little government involvement.
The author uses many quotes from the founding fathers and also philosophers including John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Cicero and others, to show in their words how they felt about these ideals. Some of the ideals are: obeying the natural law of the universe, electing virtuous leaders, the proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things, and checks and balances, among others. The founding fathers were religious and had come from more burdensome
governments. Some ideals included religion to maintain moral and virtuous people but preserved the freedom of religion at the same time. There are explanations of each principle in each section to help describe to the reader what those men had in mind and how it helped them write the Constitution.
Here is an example of one of the principles:
Principle 15 - The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations.
Prosperity depends upon a climate of wholesome stimulation with four basic freedoms in operation:
1. The Freedom to try.
2. The Freedom to buy.
3. The Freedom to sell.
4. The Freedom to fail.
In my opinion, this book really gave me perspective and I have a different outlook on the Constitution of the United States now. The definition of some of these ideals has really clarified to me how a republic can work.