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The Constitution

Author: Michael Paulsen
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465093299
Size: 41.21 MB
Format: PDF
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From war powers to health care, freedom of speech to gun ownership, religious liberty to abortion, practically every aspect of American life is shaped by the Constitution. This vital document, along with its history of political and judicial interpretation, governs our individual lives and the life of our nation. Yet most of us know surprisingly little about the Constitution itself, and are woefully unprepared to think for ourselves about recent developments in its long and storied history. The Constitution: An Introduction is the definitive modern primer on the US Constitution. Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation’s most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and lay scholar, have combined to write a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution’s history and meaning in clear, accessible terms. Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. Along the way, the authors provide correctives to the shallow myths and partial truths that pervade so much popular treatment of the Constitution, from school textbooks to media accounts of today’s controversies, and offer powerful insights into the Constitution’s true meaning. A lucid and engaging guide, The Constitution: An Introduction provides readers with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues—a skill that is ever more essential to the continued flourishing of American democracy.

America S Constitution

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1588364879
Size: 20.99 MB
Format: PDF
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In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

Fault Lines In The Constitution

Author: Cynthia Levinson
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
ISBN: 1682630242
Size: 61.34 MB
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Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the US Constitution. Husband-and-wife team Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced—then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate. Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications. Each chapter in this timely and thoughtful exploration of the Constitution’s creation begins with a story—all but one of them true—that connects directly back to a section of the document that forms the basis of our society and government. From the award-winning team, Cynthia Levinson, children’s book author, and Sanford Levinson, constitutional law scholar, Fault Lines in the Constitution will encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike.

The Penguin Guide To The United States Constitution

Author: Richard Beeman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 110145900X
Size: 43.21 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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What is the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court really allowed to do? This unique and handy guide includes the documents that guide our government, annotated with accessible explanations from one of America's most esteemed constitutional scholars. Known across the country for his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Professor Richard Beeman is one of the nation's foremost experts on the United States Constitution. In this book, he has produced what every American should have: a compact, fully annotated copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and amendments, all in their entirety. A marvel of accessibility and erudition, the guide also features a history of the making of the Constitution with excerpts from The Federalist Papers and a look at crucial Supreme Court cases that reminds us that the meaning of many of the specific provisions of the Constitution has changed over time. "Excellent . . . valuable and judicious." -Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

Sex And The Constitution Sex Religion And Law From America S Origins To The Twenty First Century

Author: Geoffrey R. Stone
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
ISBN: 1631493655
Size: 26.79 MB
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There has never been a book like Sex and the Constitution, a one-volume history that chapter after chapter overturns popular shibboleths, while dramatically narrating the epic story of how sex came to be legislated in America. Beginning his volume in the ancient and medieval worlds, Geoffrey R. Stone demonstrates how the Founding Fathers, deeply influenced by their philosophical forebears, saw traditional Christianity as an impediment to the pursuit of happiness and to the quest for human progress. Acutely aware of the need to separate politics from the divisive forces of religion, the Founding Fathers crafted a constitution that expressed the fundamental values of the Enlightenment. Although the Second Great Awakening later came to define America through the lens of evangelical Christianity, nineteenth-century Americans continued to view sex as a matter of private concern, so much so that sexual expression and information about contraception circulated freely, abortions before “quickening” remained legal, and prosecutions for sodomy were almost nonexistent. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reversed such tolerance, however, as charismatic spiritual leaders and barnstorming politicians rejected the values of our nation’s founders. Spurred on by Anthony Comstock, America’s most feared enforcer of morality, new laws were enacted banning pornography, contraception, and abortion, with Comstock proposing that the word “unclean” be branded on the foreheads of homosexuals. Women increasingly lost control of their bodies, and birth control advocates, like Margaret Sanger, were imprisoned for advocating their beliefs. In this new world, abortions were for the first time relegated to dank and dangerous back rooms. The twentieth century gradually saw the emergence of bitter divisions over issues of sexual “morality” and sexual freedom. Fiercely determined organizations and individuals on both the right and the left wrestled in the domains of politics, religion, public opinion, and the courts to win over the soul of the nation. With its stirring portrayals of Supreme Court justices, Sex and the Constitution reads like a dramatic gazette of the critical cases they decided, ranging from Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), to Roe v. Wade (abortion), to Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage), with Stone providing vivid historical context to the decisions that have come to define who we are as a nation. Now, though, after the 2016 presidential election, we seem to have taken a huge step backward, with the progress of the last half century suddenly imperiled. No one can predict the extent to which constitutional decisions safeguarding our personal freedoms might soon be eroded, but Sex and the Constitution is more vital now than ever before.

This Is Our Constitution

Author: Khizr Khan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 1524770930
Size: 63.63 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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From Gold Star father and beloved Democratic National Convention speaker Khizr Khan comes a book for young people about the Constitution—what it says and why it matters for everyone. Our Founding Fathers created the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as a blueprint for American government and the rights of American citizens. This document is not merely a piece of parchment but a living, breathing promise of our deepest democratic values. Khizr Khan grew up in Pakistan, with few of the fundamental rights that are enshrined in the Constitution. He immigrated to America and became a citizen, raising his family to appreciate and honor all our nation has to offer. Khizr Khan is deeply passionate about the Constitution: the guarantees and protections it provides for each and every person and the beacon of light it shines throughout the world. This Is Our Constitution is a personal journey that Khizr Khan is taking with our nation’s young people. The book includes: * A highly personal introduction and conclusion * Notes throughout that share Khizr Khan’s reflections on and connections to the U.S. Constitution * The fascinating history of why and how the Constitution was written *Article by article and section by section, an easy-to-follow explanation of what the Constitution means * A closer look at key amendments, including the Bill of Rights, and pivotal Supreme Court decisions * The complete texts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution This is a book about why the Constitution matters to you, and us all.

Perfecting The Constitution

Author: Darren Patrick Guerra
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 0739183869
Size: 73.15 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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He who can change the Constitution controls the Constitution. So who does control the Constitution? The answer has always been: “the people.” The people control the Constitution via the Article V amending process outlined in the Constitution itself. Changes can only be made through Article V and its formal procedures. Article V has always provided a means of perfecting the Constitution in an explicit, democratically authentic, prudent, and deliberative manner. In addition to changing the Constitution Article V also allowed the people to perfect and preserve their Constitution at the same time. In recent years Article V has come under attack by influential legal scholars who criticize it for being too difficult, undemocratic, and too formal. Such scholars advocate for ignoring Article V in favor of elite adaptation of the Constitution or popular amendment through national referendums. In making their case, critics also assume that Article V is an unimportant and expendable part of the Constitutional structure. One notable scholar called the Constitution “imbecilic” because of Article V. This book shows that, to the contrary, Article V is a unique and powerful extension of the American tradition of written constitutionalism. It was a logical extension of American constitutional development and it was a powerful tool used by the Federalists to argue for ratification of the new Constitution. Since then it has served as a means of “perfecting” the US Constitution for over 200 years via a wide range of amendments. Contrary to contemporary critics, the historical evidence shows Article V to be a vital element in the Constitutional architecture, not an expendable or ancillary piece. This book defends Article V against critics by showing that it is neither too difficult, undemocratic, nor too formal. Furthermore, a positive case is made that Article V remains the most clear and powerful way to register the sovereign desires of the American public with regard to alterations of their fundamental law. In the end, Article V is an essential bulwark to maintaining a written Constitution that secures the rights of the people against both elites and themselves.

The Constitution Today

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465096344
Size: 23.62 MB
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"I don't think there is anyone in the academy these days capable of more patient and attentive reading of the constitutional text than Akhil Amar."--Jeremy Waldron, New York Review of Books When the stories that lead our daily news involve momentous constitutional questions, present-minded journalists and busy citizens cannot always see the stakes clearly. In The Constitution Today, Akhil Reed Amar, America's preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades--from gun control to gay marriage, affirmative action to criminal procedure, presidential dynasties to congressional dysfunction, Bill Clinton's impeachment to Obamacare. He shows how the Constitution's text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic. Leading readers through the constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.

The Presidents And The Constitution

Author: Ken Gormley
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479839906
Size: 58.25 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this sweepingly ambitious volume, the nation’s foremost experts on the American presidency and the U.S. Constitution join together to tell the intertwined stories of how each American president has confronted and shaped the Constitution. Each occupant of the office—the first president to the forty-fourth—has contributed to the story of the Constitution through the decisions he made and the actions he took as the nation’s chief executive. By examining presidential history through the lens of constitutional conflicts and challenges, The Presidents and the Constitution offers a fresh perspective on how the Constitution has evolved in the hands of individual presidents. It delves into key moments in American history, from Washington’s early battles with Congress to the advent of the national security presidency under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, to reveal the dramatic historical forces that drove these presidents to action. Historians and legal experts, including Richard Ellis, Gary Hart, Stanley Kutler and Kenneth Starr, bring the Constitution to life, and show how the awesome powers of the American presidency have been shapes by the men who were granted them. The book brings to the fore the overarching constitutional themes that span this country’s history and ties together presidencies in a way never before accomplished. Exhaustively researched and compellingly presented, The Presidents and the Constitution shines new light on America’s brilliant constitutional and presidential history.

What Is The Constitution

Author: Patricia Brennan Demuth
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1524786101
Size: 51.11 MB
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We the people at Who HQ bring readers the full story--arguments and all--of how the US Constitution came into being. Signed on September 17, 1787--four years after the American War for Independence--the Constitution laid out the supreme law of the United States of America. Today it's easy for us to take this blueprint of our government for granted. But the Framers--fifty-five men from almost all of the original 13 states--argued fiercely for many months over what ended up being only a four-page document. Here is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the hotly fought issues--those between Northern and Southern States; big states and little ones--and the key players such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington who suffered through countless revisions to make the Constitution happen.