Gordon S. Wood’s Power and Liberty: Constitutionalism in the American Revolution is the kind of book that the most recognized members of academic disciplines are privileged to publish. The Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University is, of course, widely considered the leading authority on the early American republic, and Power and Liberty is, he notes, “largely a distillation of my fifty years of work on the…history of constitutionalism in the Revolutionary era.”

In our age of woke history, Wood is to be commended for aiming to write “as impartially and as truthfully as possible.” “Without a commitment to objective truth and the pastness of the past,” he cautions, “the history of a nation becomes distorted, turns into politics by other means, and ends up becoming out-and-out partisan propaganda.” Wood has been among the 1619 Project’s highest-profile critics.

He is a charming, and disarming, writer whose reliance in large measure on original sources is also to be applauded. But his use of original sources can be deceptive. He is prone to quoting brief snippets, many of which he takes out of context. A more fundamental problem in his scholarship was ably identified in these pages by Steven Hayward (“The Liberal Republicanism of Gordon Wood,” Winter 2006/07), who observed that

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