This (too) short book grew out of an essay written by the distinguished political philosopher Walter Berns for The Public Interest. What it does is to probe into American history in search of the meaning and implications of the Declaration of Independence and its immediate progeny. Professor Berns asks: What was meant—is meant?— by our pledge of allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands? The author knows what was meant by those who coined the words and by those who fought to give the words standing in an independent country. He knows to declare our republic unique. Walter Berns can be pretty assertive in expressing his own views but to say that much about America calls for a little rhetorical caution, so he lets Thomas Pangle say it:

The declaration by which Americans made themselves independent marked the birth of the first nation in history grounded explicitly not on tradition, or...

 
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