Analysis | Ron DeSantis' out-of-context history book has disappeared from the internet. We have a copy. (2023)

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Ahead of its spring releaseFlorida Governor Ron DeSandisIn the book "A Courage de Ser Livre", a funny thing happened on the Internet: his first book, published in 2011, before he started his political career, disappeared.

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"Dreams of Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Obama Era" was once available at the click of a button as an e-book, but not anymore. A used hard copy sells for nearly $1,950the only online bookstorethat looks like you The publisher, asmall washing markin Florida under the name High-Pitched Hum Publishing, did not respond to phone calls or social media messages about why the e-book was taken down.

Fortunately, the Washington Post purchased a digital copy last summer in hopes that one day it will become more current. Now with DeSantis(R)is expected to officially declare his offerfor the presidency this week, it's time.


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"Dreams From Our Founding Fathers", in title, cover and content, he is essentially a troll of the former presidentBarack ObamaThe 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father," chronicled Obama's upbringing and youth before entering Harvard Law School.

In his book, DeSantis, who moved tostop the history lessonsin Florida, which can make students uncomfortable, and which attacked an AP African American Studies class, said "it has no educational value,” dismisses slavery as a “personal failing” of the Founding Fathers, irrelevant to the really important stuff: selected, out-of-context quotes from James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.

His writing is coherent, quite lively and includes - angels and harps! - footnotes to your source. That alone makes it better than the vast majoritythe attempt of politicians to write history. And while DeSantis joined the tea party movement when he wrote the book, he doesn't support conspiracy theories that claim Obama was a secret Muslim or was born in Kenya. He doesn't think eitherdeath panelthey are real—though "concerns about them are not unreasonable," he writes.

But DeSantis's position is twofold: that Obama made a dangerous takeover, and that the Founders would have been shocked if they were still alive to see it.

The largely overlooked book ban case that went to the Supreme Court

According to DeSantis, the evidence for Obama taking office includes;saving the auto industry, The2009 stimulus packagemObamacare. The president's anti-American principles, DeSantis argues, come from the usual dads— activist writer Saul Alinsky, ex-imprisoned teacher Bill Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright - as well as poetsFrank Marshall Davisthis is inpaiwho left Obama when he was 2 years old. DeSantis then writes a list of nasty things these men once said and attributes them to Obama.

If that seems a bit far-fetched, the rest of the book is devoted to pulling off a similar maneuver with the Founders, cloaking DeSantis' distaste for the 44th president in quotes from Madison and Hamilton. Other founders are mentioned only in passing and only to the extent that they can be used to support DeSantis's argument, with one exception: a final chapter onGeorge Washington.

Slavery "a fact"

Any history book about the founders must recognize that many of them wereslaver, and DeSantis gets it right in the intro in one breath.


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"Slavery," he writes, "has been a fact throughout human history." It is a variant of the fallacy argument "People didn't know it was wrong then." In any case, the form of slavery practiced in the early republic—perpetual, hereditary, race-based, chattel slavery—was particularly severe and relatively new in human history.

Did Ben Franklin really say "A democracy if you can keep it"?

Some of the founders, such as Gouverneur Morris andBenjamin Franklin, opposed slavery anyway, DeSantis writes. It's true, though he mentions almost none of it until the end of the book, where he repeats that some of the founders were anti-slavery. As if Morris and Franklin had nothing to offer DeSantis in terms of writing, philosophy, or "First principles" from the title of his book (read: limited government) and are just useful as licenses to skip the rough parts.

DeSantis concludes his brief discussion of slavery with, “Though not immediately abolished, slavery was doomed to failure in a nation whose constitution embodied philosophical truths” like freedom. Many of the founders believed in the inevitability of phasing out slavery, but anyone today who can write "disposable cotton" I should have known that wasn't happening. By the time of the Civil War, eight decades after the Revolution, American slavery was bigger, crueler, more entrenched, and more profitable than ever.


Lecture to bash Obama

It would be impossible (or at least excruciatingly tedious) to go through every passage in DeSantis' book and see if he has given the proper context. But for those reviewed by The Post, it's safe to say no.

Case in point: DeSantis gushes in Chapter 9 about Obama urging young people to aim for a life of public service instead of chasing "big money" and a "pretty fancy car." "This negative view of economic success is yet another example of Obama not being in tune with the conspirators," he concludes, adding excerpts from Hamilton quotes, not even entire sentences, about "work habits" and "pursuit profits' of the Americans. .."

Hamilton despised slavery, but did not confront George Washington or other slave owners.

Suggestions come fromFederalist #8, dealing with conflict prevention between states. In its full context, Hamilton explores the pitfalls on the maintenance of a standing army: “The industrious habits of the present people, absorbed in the pursuit of profit, and devoted to the improvement of agriculture and commerce, are incompatible with the condition of a nation of soldiers, which was the real condition of the people at that time. [former] democracies'.

DeSantis is also seen here cutting his life in public service. The US Navy was his employer. Since publishing the book, he has worked in Congress and in the state of Florida.

Plantation James Madison promised to share power with black descendants. Then things exploded.

DeSantis devotes part of his book to the sanctity of property rights and Obama's alleged violation of them (credit card company rules, individual mandate), but in doing so he makes a much bigger mistake by choosing slavery. It depicts an old manJames Madisonhe heroically raised his creaking bones from retirement to address the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1829. Ali, says DeSantis, Madison "advised the delegates that" these natural rights cannot be separated. The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives property, when acquired, a right of protection, a social right."

However, Madison didn't talk about the deed on her home or an unfair tax. The 1829 convention was called because in Virginia only white men who owned property could vote and a bunch of white men who didn't own property wanted to vote too. Madison did not want these men to have the right to takeyour slavesor make slavery less profitable.


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See it yourself. Here isMadison, two paragraphs after the passage cited by DeSantis:

“To bring the subject nearer to the committee, viz., the peculiar feature of our commonwealth, which calls for a peculiar provision, based on our government, I mean the colored portion of our population. It is argued that if the power of the commonwealth is in the hands of a majority uninterested in this form of property, that, from the ease with which it may be oppressed by excessive taxation, its property may be wronged. owners".

Only people who own people, Madison argues, should be allowed to vote on matters related to people who own people. It is a very specific type of property.

Either DeSantis didn't know the context of this quote, or he left it out on purpose. The first suggests sloppy research. the latter suggests the kind of "twisted story" that heHe claimed"Woke up" educators in your state are trying to impose.

Wake up call for democrats

The final chapters focus onWashingtonmiraculous humility in how he willingly relinquished his position as Commander-in-Chief after the end of the Revolutionary War and howlimited to two terms as president, setting a standard that only one president (a Democrat!) has ignored. DeSantis describes this well and accurately, at least downplaying Washington's reluctance to take power. historians such as Alexis Coe have shown that Washington wanted to resign after one term, had to be persuaded to serve another, andHe regretted itwhen he did.


DeSantis points to Washington's humility to warn of Obama's "self-pity," "arrogance" and "inflated self-esteem," which he says could threaten democracy if Obama is re-elected in 2012.That didn't happen.) It's been twelve years since DeSantis issued that warning, and in those 12 years, DeSantis' track record of taking principled stands against ego-driven presidents has not held up.

DeSantis sought out and enjoyed oneapprovalformer President Donald Trump, who stated in his nomination acceptance speech, "Only I can fix it."DeSanti's postdeer adswhere he didn't read the Federalist Papers to his kids, but Trump's book "The Art of the Deal." Even now, as he is expected to docreate a main campaign against your former ally, DeSantisdid not condemn the former president's false claimsregarding the 2020 election orunprecedented effortstaying in the White House.

MLK and avoid the fight

The plot of "Dreams From Our Founding Fathers" evolves as it goes along. A later chapter says that the French political scientistAlexis de TocquevilleI would hate Obamacare too. It's an odd inclusion in a book that's supposed to be about the Founding Fathers, given that Tocqueville wasn't one of them.

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There are large pages forSupreme Court Cases, and even a nod toPastor Martin Luther King Jr.- sanitized bike versionyearly tweets, However. DeSantis reports that King praised the "wonderful words" of the Constitution. According to DeSantis' footnotes, he didn't take it out of context.pushing for civil rights legislation in the "I Have a Dream" speech.mas do Yale Book of Quotations.

DeSantis's book portrays history as useful quotes from great men, not a rigorous examination of the past in all its complexities, contexts, perspectives, and, yes, hypocrisies. His attack on history education should come as no surprise. Given the opportunity to literally make history here, he tried to ignore African-American history until he could create the King quote.


Madison largely wrote the "splendid words" under which the United States governed for 234 years. When Madison relaxed at home, most of the people around him were enslaved blacks whose work—and the profits his work brought—allowed him to develop, as DeSantis put it, “a profound knowledge of the entire gamut of philosophical of questions, political, economic and religious which cross the [constitutional] convention'.

These realities existed uncomfortably long before our current historical wars. Perhaps in a society—or a state or a candidate—at peace with its past, there would be nothing controversial in saying this.

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What nationality is DeSantis? ›

Ronald Dion DeSantis (/dəˈsæntɪs/ or /diːsæntɪs/; born September 14, 1978) is an American politician serving as the 46th governor of Florida since 2019. A member of the Republican Party, DeSantis represented Florida's 6th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018.

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Ron DeSantis has recently bought a brand-new Lexus GX at a price of $41,000 USD. Ron DeSantis also owns an Land Rover Velar that's worth $90,000 USD. A few other cars in Ron DeSantis's collection are listed down below.

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