Why Worldview Matters in Teaching Economics and American Government

by | May 29, 2018 | Articles

One might ask the question, why would I want to use an American Government textbook that was written twenty-five years ago? It is because this is a text that is sorely needed today. Read a little of Dr. Clarence Carson’s Preface, and ask yourself if this is not an endeavor worth the time and effort of your students. These principles, truly understood, will prepare them for their future:

It would be a considerable fraud to do a book on American government which talked as if the Constitution were still being substantially observed, that pretended that when Presidents took the oath of office they intended to observe the bounds set by the Constitution, that Congressmen recited their pledges with the same intent, and that Federal judges were still construing the Constitution as it was written. In sum, any book on American government worthy of the name ought to make clear how remote from the Constitution the government has become. Every effort has been made to do so in this book.


This book is not, then, simply a manual on the nuts and bolts of government which accept whatever it is that government does without reference to constitutional authorization. It is not a manual on how to live under its authority and operate the government in the year of our Lord 1993. There are manuals aplenty that provide such information. On the contrary, this is a work addressed to potential citizens, who wish to constrain and control their government by constitutional means, not to conforming servants, beggars for portions of its loot, nor employees or operators of a leviathon-sized government.


This book contains an account of the general government as established by the Constitution, of the state governments which preceded it and came after it and their constitutions. More, it details the Ancient and modern foundations, scriptural and secular, on which these constitutions and governments rested. The Founders of the United States built on a great foundation, and the story of that is told in these pages. The story is told, too, how the Constitution of 1787 became the Higher Law for many Americans, including most of those who governed them in the 19th century. It ends with a detailed account of the massive departures from the Constitution in the 20th century on the way to constructing a Leviathon, in which government is now out of control.


This is a work intended for citizens and potential citizens of the United States of all ages and conditions. Can such a work be intended for young people? Indeed, it can and is, for however shameful the departures from and betrayal of the Constitution have been, the knowledge of them is not something from which anyone should be protected…

When Clarence Carson set out to write an economics text and an American government text he knew that certain fundamental principles had to be taught. He knew then that our government had abandoned the Constitutional restraints that our Founders had imposed. Moreover, he knew that modern economics textbooks had largely departed from natural law foundations by embracing a form of positivism that is destructive of our natural rights to life, liberty, and property.

Things have only gotten worse. We live in a day when it is absolutely necessary that we educate today’s students in the fundamentals of the natural law tradition if our nation is to be salvaged from the tyrannies being imposed upon us. Ignorance and false understanding of the nature of economics and government can only result in the further demise of the nation. Indeed, such ignorance has yielded a rising tide of tyranny and despotism and out of control government action. The time for restoration is now and that can only occur when the new generation comes to grips with the essential nature of the fundamental principles we have abandoned as a nation, and as they recognize and root out the half-truths and outright falsehoods that have been proliferated in the guise of promoting the “common good” in our society. Basic Economics (4th ed., updated in 2018) and Basic American Government are an important tandem aimed at rightly educating this new generation.

Basic Economics 4th ed Front Cover @200Dr. Paul Cleveland is a professor of economics at Birmingham-Southern College. He has authored or co-authored four books. His most recent is an update to Dr. Clarence Carson's economics text: Basic Economics: A Natural Law Approach to Economics, Fourth Edition.

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Excellent Resources

5.0 rating
August 6, 2019

As our children approached the high school age, we were wondering what resources to use for the subjects of Civics and Economics. Upon the recommendation of some close friends, we decide on Basic American Government and Basic Economics. We were not disappointed. Not only did we teach all three of our children using these books, but we opened up the class to the homeschool community in our area. This year we are starting our third time through this course which has been very well received. I appreciate the starting point of the authors which is the truths taught in the Christian Scripture. With that foundation – the foundation of eternal truths – the authors (Clarence Carson & Paul Cleveland) do an excellent job of tying the topics together as a cohesive whole, showing the results of both good and bad ideas. I am very excited to use the 4th edition of Basic Economics for the first time this year. The formatting and layout look amazing. I am guessing that the chapter review will be helpful for the students preparing for the weekly quizzes (and the teacher in preparing the quizzes). I know that was helpful when I taught through Carson’s six volume American History course.
Speaking of history, the history class last year was a great success. I wasn’t sure how it would go as this was the first time I had taught using those books. The homeschool students absolutely loved the course. The author did a superb job a referencing the Constitution throughout the books, of showing the underlying ideas that affected the course of our nation, and the foundational principles of the United States, which are rooted in the Christian worldview. For years, I have been disappointed in the lack of quality history from a Christian perspective past the Civil War era. When I learned about Carson’s history, I jumped on the idea of using that since I had been impressed with the other books I had used. I was not disappointed with this decision. I have since been promoting the history book (along with the other Boundary Stone books) to our homeschool friends.
Lastly, I would like to say that I appreciate the work of the Clevelands in keeping these books published and updated for future generations. As a homeschool dad and supporter of the homeschool community in California, I love these resources. They are a treasure that would be a shame to lose. Keep up the good work!

Brian Eschen

Basic Economics 4th Edition - A rare find!

5.0 rating
June 19, 2019

I am really looking forward to using your curriculum! I have a friend who will also be purchasing. We homeschool our high school daughters together and have a number of different economic curriculums and books between us, but each seemed to lack something. Your new book appears to accomplish what we hope to cover without having to piece together from multiple sources. Thank you!


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February 22, 2020



the importance of history.

5.0 rating
March 27, 2019

Our main job of educating our children should be to teach history from a Christian world view.
Dr. Paul Cleveland does an excellent job of presenting history in a truthful way. Great resources for you and your family.

linda mace

great advice for parents

5.0 rating
March 27, 2019

great advice for parents as they prepare their students for college

lindy mace

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