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20 Fun Facts about the US Constitution
The U.S. Constitution is the oldest, shortest, one-document constitution in the world, but this ground-breaking document is much more than that. It proved to be the driving force behind the fight for independence all over the world. Readers are sure to be surprised and entertained by the numerous fun facts featured in this book. The text is accompanied by helpful graphic organizers, historic images, maps, and photographs of the Constitution itself.
Publication Date: 2013
The Constitution: An Introduction
Michael Stokes Paulsen; Luke Paulsen
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.
Publication Date: 2015
The Constitution : Major Cases and Conflicts
Gloria J. Browne-Marshall
The Constitution: Major Cases and Conflicts provides students with a road map through the evolution of the Supreme Court, giving clarity to complex issues. This book has chosen pivotal cases based on the importance of the decisions in law, history, and American society. The Constitution has full decisions, not mere excerpts, allowing students to read for themselves and fully understand the logic of the Supreme Court majority and dissenters. These cases involve criminal justice, civil liberties, State's rights, gender, and racial justice as these issues correspond with the balance of powers between the three branches of government. The cases are placed in a historical context with thoughtful questions for discussion. Readers will follow the Supreme Court as it grapples with slavery in early colonial America to 21st century concerns regarding same-sex marriage and technology.
Publication Date: 2020
Constitution: Overview, Issues and Interpretations
While exercising its power to review the constitutionality of governmental action, the Supreme Court has relied on certain methods or modes of interpretation that is, ways of figuring out a particular meaning of provision within the Constitution. The first chapter or report broadly describes the most common modes of constitutional interpretation. The next chapters herein examine the Speech or Debate Clause of the US Constitution; provides an overview of Congresss power under the Constitution and Congresss role in interpreting the nations founding document; and discusses contemporary issues for Congress with regards to Article V of the US Constitution, and the two methods by which the nations founding charter may be amended.
Publication Date: 2018
The Constitution Goes to College: Five Constitutional Ideas That Have Shaped the American University
Rodney A. Smolla
American college campuses, where ideas are freely exchanged, contested, and above all uncensored, are historical hotbeds of political and social turmoil. In the past decade alone, the media has carefully tracked the controversy surrounding the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia, the massacres at Virginia Tech, the dismissal of Harvard's President Lawrence Summers, and the lacrosse team rape case at Duke, among others. No matter what the event, the conflicts that arise on our campuses can be viewed in terms of constitutional principles, which either control or influence outcomes of these events. In turn, constitutional principles are frequently shaped and forged by campus culture, creating a symbiotic relationship in which constitutional values influence the nature of universities, which themselves influence the nature of our constitutional values. In The Constitution Goes to College, Rodney A. Smolla--a former dean and current university president who is an expert on the First Amendment--deftly uses the American university as a lens through which to view the Constitution in action. Drawing on landmark cases and conflicts played out on college campuses, Smolla demonstrates how five key constitutional ideas--the living Constitution, the division between public and private spheres, the distinction between rights and privileges, ordered liberty, and equality--are not only fiercely contested on college campuses, but also dominate the shape and identity of American university life. Ultimately, Smolla compellingly demonstrates that the American college community, like the Constitution, is orderly and hierarchical yet intellectually free and open, a microcosm where these constitutional dichotomies play out with heightened intensity.
Publication Date: 2011
The Federalist Papers
Alexander Hamilton; John Jay; James Madison
Eighty-five articles and essays by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison that interpret and promote the US Constitution. Three of America's Founding Fathers--Alexander Hamilton, General George Washington's chief of staff and first secretary of the treasury; John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States; and James Madison, father of the Constitution, author of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States--embarked on an anonymous public relations campaign to promote the ratification of the US Constitution. Beginning in 1787, their articles appeared in three New York newspapers: The Independent Journal, the New-York Packet, and the Daily Advertiser. Written under the pseudonym Publius, their writings were a masterful analysis and interpretation of the Constitution, explaining the principles upon which the US government was founded. To this day, the Federalist Papers remain "an authoritative resource for academics, lawyers, and judges--including Supreme Court justices--to use to interpret the Constitution and to determine its original, or historic, meaning" (National Constitution Center).
Publication Date: 2020
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, "Father of the Constitution," were two of the most important Founders of the United States as well as the closest of political allies. Yet historians have often seen a tension between the idealistic rhetoric of the Declaration and the more pedestrian language of the Constitution. Moreover, to some, the adoption of the Constitution represented a repudiation of the democratic values of the Revolution. In this book, Jeff Broadwater explores the evolution of the constitutional thought of these two seminal American figures, from the beginning of the American Revolution through the adoption of the Bill of Rights. In explaining how the two political compatriots could have produced such seemingly dissimilar documents but then come to a common constitutional ground, Broadwater reveals how their collaboration--and their disagreements--influenced the full range of constitutional questions during this early period of the American republic.
Publication Date: 2019
A Pocket Guide to the US Constitution: What Every American Needs to Know
Andrew B. Arnold
The Constitution is not so simple that it explains itself--nor so complex that only experts can understand it. In this accessible, nonpartisan quick reference, historian Andrew Arnold provides concise explanations of the Constitution's meaning and history, offering little-known facts and anecdotes about every article and all twenty-seven amendments. This handy guide won't tell you what the Constitution ought to say, nor what it ought to mean. It will tell you what the Constitution says and what it has meant. A Pocket Guide to the US Constitution presents a straightforward way to understand the American Constitutional system. Without wading through lengthy legal prose, heavy historical analysis, or polemical diatribes, you can easily find out what the emoluments clause means, learn about gerrymandering and separation of powers, or read a brief background on why slaves in colonial America were considered 3/5 of a person. Small enough to put in your pocket, backpack, or briefcase, A Pocket Guide to the US Constitution can be used to comprehend current events, dig deeper into court cases, or sort out your own opinions on constitutional issues.
Publication Date: 2018
The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History
Ken Gormley (Editor)
Shines new light on America's brilliant constitutional and presidential history, from George Washington to Barack Obama. 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.
Publication Date: 2016
America's Constitution: A Biography
Akhil Reed Amar
InAmerica’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 unamendab≤ the reason America adopted an electoral colle≥ 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 Constitutionis an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.
Call Number: KF4541 .A87 2005
Publication Date: 2005
Constitutional Chaff: Rejected Suggestions of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, with Explanatory Argument
Compiled by Jane Butzner from the notes of James Madison; Major William Pierce; Dr. James McHenry; Rufus King ; and the Honorable Robert Yates
"The source of the notes from which this book was compiled is, Documents illustrative of the formation of the union of the American states, House documents no. 398, 69th Congress, first session."--Preface.
Call Number: JK 141 1941
Publication Date: 1941
Constitutionalism and American Culture
Sandra F. VanBurkleo (Editor); Kermit L. Hall (Editor); Robert J. Kaczorowski (Editor)
Taking their cue from the late Paul L. Murphy, one of our nation's leading legal historians, this illustrious group of scholars argues that the field of constitutional history is "too important to be left solely to lawyers and judges." Their "state-of-the-field" volume reclaims constitutional history's rightful place as a vital and necessary part of our intellectual enterprise, in part by pushing the field onto fresh, even controversial, terrain. The result is a provocative new look at the past, present, and future of American constitutionalism, one that opens a window on the larger American soul. Much as Murphy has done, these scholars contend that this restoration is much needed and will greatly enrich judicial and public policy, advance a tradition of justice worthy of America's democratic aspirations, give due attention to cultural contexts, and, most importantly, afford Americans a richer understanding of their constitutional heritage. Their essays explore, for example, the ways in which previously excluded groups have come more fully into the Constitution's orbit of freedom, the ongoing importance of institutions and doctrines, and the ways in which theory and informal texts might enrich the field. How, they ask, might scholars take account of the lived experiences of litigants, reformers, and lawyers in the forging of constitutional change? A kind of prospectus for the future of American constitutional history, these essays address fundamental questions about the field and its evolution. More important, they persuasively argue that the best way to reinvigorate the study of constitutionalism is to reconnect it to its social and cultural contexts, to appreciate the continuing necessity of archival research, to recognize and support the value of new approaches and perspectives, and to reaffirm in the end that the best way to explain the history of rights is to remember the courage of the people who had the vision and conviction to put the judges through their constitutional paces.
Call Number: KF4541 .C5895 2002
Publication Date: 2002
The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era
Akhil Reed Amar
A leading legal scholar addresses the most important constitutional controversies of the past two decades and illuminates the Constitution's spirit and ongoing relevance. America's Constitution, Chief Justice John Marshall famously observed in McCulloch v. Maryland, aspires to endure for ages to come." The daily news has a shorter shelf life, and when the issues of the day 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 and provides a passionate handbook for thinking constitutionally about today's headlines. Amar 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. Prioritizing sound constitutional reasoning over partisan preferences, he makes the case for diversity-based affirmative action and a right to have a gun in one's home for self-protection, and against spending caps on independent political advertising and bans on same-sex marriage. He explains what's wrong with presidential dynasties, advocates a nuclear option" to restore majority rule in the Senate, and suggests ways to reform the Supreme Court. And he revisits three dramatic constitutional conflicts,the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the contested election of George W. Bush, and the fight over Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act,to show what politicians, judges, and journalists got right as events unfolded and what they missed.Leading readers through the particular constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the Constitution's letter, its spirit, and the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.
Call Number: KF4550 .A728 2016
Publication Date: 2016
Creating the Constitution: The Convention of 1787 and the First Congress
Creating the Constitution presents a different interpretation of the Convention and the First Congress, derived largely from a close reading of Farrand's Records and the Annals of Congress. Among its special features are a critical perspective on the Framers, an examination of Court Whig influence on the Federalists, the identification of a third group--the state Federalists--between the nationalists and states' righters, and a view of the First Congress as distorting the aims of the Convention.
Call Number: KF4541 .A88 1993
Publication Date: 1993
Encyclopedia of the American Constitution
Leonard W. Levy
This supplement covers Supreme Court decisions between 1985 and 1991 and expands shorter articles in the original Encyclopedia. It also chronicles debates on abortion, drug testing and other issues prevalent during the 1980s.
Call Number: KF4548 .E53 1992
Publication Date: 1992
Journal of the Federal Convention, kept by James Madison
E. H. Scott [Editor]
Reprinted from the ed. of 1840, which was published under direction of the United States government from the original manuscripts. A complete index specially adapted to this ed. is added.
Call Number: JK141 1893
Publication Date: 1893
What the Constitution Means to Me
When she was fifteen years old, Heidi Schreck earned money for her college tuition by giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution. Decades later, she traces the effect this document has had on four generations of women in her family. Deftly examining how the United States' founding principles are inextricably linked with our personal lives, Schreck also explores the ways in which their misuse has engendered violence and inherited trauma. With passion and wit, this galvanizing new play acknowledges the ways in which our Constitution has failed us while simultaneously offering hope that we may yet steer ourselves toward a better future.
Call Number: PS3569.C529174 W47 2020
Publication Date: 2021
The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution
Linda R. Monk
THE WORDS WE LIVE BY takes an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions on new rulings on hot button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, gun control, and affirmative action. In THE WORDS WE LIVE BY, Linda Monk probes the idea that the Constitution may seem to offer cut-and-dried answers to questions regarding personal rights, but the interpretations of this hallowed document are nearly infinite. For example, in the debate over gun control, does "the right of the people to bear arms" as stated in the Second Amendment pertain to individual citizens or regulated militias? What do scholars say? Should the Internet be regulated and censored, or does this impinge on the freedom of speech as defined in the First Amendment? These and other issues vary depending on the interpretation of the Constitution. Through entertaining and informative annotations, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY offers a new way of looking at the Constitution. Its pages reflect a critical, respectful and appreciative look at one of history's greatest documents. THE WORDS WE LIVE BY is filled with a rich and engaging historical perspective along with enough surprises and fascinating facts and illustrations to prove that your Constitution is a living--and entertaining--document. Updated now for the first time, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY continues to take an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions on new rulings on hot button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, and affirmative action.
Call Number: KF4550.Z9 M66 2003
Publication Date: 2003-
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