Have you ever wondered what was really meant by one or more of the ten amendments?
Have you ever been unsure as to how these rights apply to modern society?
Have you even questioned if the Bill of Rights should still be held as inviolable law, nearly 250 years after its writing?
Here's the truth: the Bill of Rights is not easy to understand if you just pick it up and give it a read. The eloquent style in which it's written can be confusing. The language can cause misunderstandings. There's a lot of legal terminology that's beyond most of us. Without an understanding of the historical background of certain amendments, it's impossible to fully understand their importance and scope. And to top it all off, there are countless politicians and pundits that try to interpret our rights for us and tell us what the Founders meant.
But are you comfortable letting crooked politicians decide what your rights are? Or would you rather know and be able to insist on, with certainty, the freedoms our Founders intended for you, your family, your friends, and your fellow Americans? If you're like millions of other Americans, you'll choose the latter.
Thomas Jefferson said, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." He also said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was and never will be."
That's why this book was created, and it would make the Founders proud if they were here today. This book helps you easily reach a deep understanding of the Bill of Rights by walking you through each amendment, clarifying the precise definitions of key words; providing the historical context you need to fully grasp and spirit and importance of the amendments; sharing powerfully insightful quotes on each amendment, straight from the Founders and their peers; supplying you with an extensive glossary of terms so you never get lost in a dictionary or encyclopedia trying to understand what you're reading; and more.
The Founders fought tirelessly to guarantee you specific rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Don't let two-faced politicians and pundits tell you what your rights are.
Scroll up and click the "Buy" button now to learn your rights, and together, we can keep the spirit of freedom alive in this great nation.
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.
In this book, we learn how the Founding Fathers discovered this success formula. Much of this discovery is told in the words of the Founders themselves, so that the reader can feel the power of their minds sweeping away thousands of years of bad government and illogical laws to formulate a whole new society based on human freedom.
By returning to the roots of the Founders’ thinking, and contemplating the logic that they used in establishing the Constitution, we can better understand the challenges and solutions that confront us in today’s political world.
This eBook includes the original index, illustrations, footnotes, table of contents and page numbering from the printed format.
Many people have wondered why I’ve been speaking out on controversial issues for the last few years. They say I’ve never held political office. I’m not a constitutional scholar. I’m not even a lawyer. All I can say to that is “Guilty as charged.”
It’s true that I’ve never voted for a budget America could not afford. I’ve never raised anyone’s taxes. And I’ve never promised a lobbyist anything in exchange for a donation.
Luckily, none of that really matters. Our founding fathers didn’t want a permanent governing class of professional politicians. They wanted a republic, in Lincoln’s words, "of the people, by the people, and for the people." A country where any farmer, small-business owner, manual laborer, or doctor could speak up and make a difference.
I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the U.S. Constitution. And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn’t brain surgery.
The founders wrote it for ordinary men and women, in clear, precise, simple language. They intentionally made it short enough to read in a single sitting and to carry in your pocket.
I wrote this book to encourage every citizen to read and think about the Constitution, and to help defend it from those who misinterpret and undermine it. In our age of political correctness it’s especially important to defend the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our freedom to speak, bear arms, practice our religion, and much more.
The Constitution isn’t history—it’s about your life in America today. And defending it is about what kind of country our children and grandchildren will inherit.
I hope you’ll enjoy learning about the fascinating ways that the founders established the greatest democracy in history—and the ways that recent presidents, congresses, and courts have threatened that democracy.
As the Preamble says, the purpose of the Constitution is to create a more perfect union. My goal is to empower you to help protect that union and secure the blessings of liberty.
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
• The Origination Clause says that all bills to raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, but contempt for the clause ensured the passage of Obamacare.
• The Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the NSA now collects our private data without a warrant.
• The Legislative Powers Clause means that only Congress can pass laws, but unelected agencies now produce ninety-nine out of every one hundred pages of legal rules imposed on the American people.
Lee’s cast of characters includes a former Ku Klux Klansman, who hijacked the Establishment Clause to strangle Catholic schools; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who called the Second Amendment a fraud; and the revered president who began his first of four terms by threating to shatter the balance of power between Congress and the president, and who began his second term by vowing to do the same to the Supreme Court.
Fortunately, the Constitution has always had its defenders. Senator Lee tells the story of how Andrew Jackson, noted for his courage in duels and politics, stood firm against the unconstitutional expansion of federal powers. He brings to life Ben Franklin’s genius for compromise at a deeply divided constitutional convention. And he tells how in 2008, a couple of unlikely challengers persuaded the Supreme Court to rediscover the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.
Sections of the Constitution may have been forgotten, but it’s not too late to bring them back—if only we remember why we once demanded them and how we later lost them. Drawing on his experience working in all three branches of government, Senator Lee makes a bold case for resurrecting the Lost Constitution to restore and defend our fundamental liberties.
From the Hardcover edition.
By the time of his retirement in June 2010, John Paul Stevens had become the second longest serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Now he draws upon his more than three decades on the Court, during which he was involved with many of the defining decisions of the modern era, to offer a book like none other. SIX AMENDMENTS is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.
Written with the same precision and elegance that made Stevens's own Court opinions legendary for their clarity as well as logic, SIX AMENDMENTS is a remarkable work, both because of its unprecedented nature and, in an age of partisan ferocity, its inarguable common sense.
In a new afterword, Levinson looks at the deepening of constitutional worship and attributes the current widespread frustrations with the government to the static nature of the Constitution.
In this fully revised second edition, leading scholars in law, history, and public policy offer more than two hundred updated and incisive essays on every clause of the Constitution.
From the stirring words of the Preamble to the Twenty-seventh Amendment, you will gain new insights into the ideas that made America, important debates that continue from our Founding, and the Constitution's true meaning for our nation.
Revisiting all the original documents and using her deep knowledge of eighteenth-century history and politics, Carol Berkin takes a fresh look at the men who framed the Constitution, the issues they faced, and the times they lived in. Berkin transports the reader into the hearts and minds of the founders, exposing their fears and their limited expectations
The Constitution which went into effect in 1787 then embodied a small, rural Republic of but 13 States located along the eastern seaboard of present day United States. The population of the Union was only 4 million. However it carried slight weight in international affairs. During the following span of time, the Union has grown into an urbanized, industrial country of 50 States extending as far westward as Alaska and Hawaii. The population now exceeds 215 million, and the Nation ranks as a leading global super power.
Along side the growth and power of the United has been a remarkable increase in the scope and influence of the Presidency over the years especially in the 20th and 21st centuries.
"Though admittedly a valuable and able study, Rawle's View of the Constitution stirred up controversy. Rawle himself was a Federalist, but his studies in government had led him to the judgment that the Union was not irrevocable. His final chapter on "The Union" includes a detailed statement that the right of secession was necessary to the fundamental right of a people to choose their own form of government. (. . .) In several ways, Rawle may be considered as providing the transitional step between the North and the South. His View was published midway between the inauguration of the Federal Government and the outbreak of the War Between the States." --Elizabeth Kelley Bauer, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1790-1860 63).
WILLIAM RAWLE [1759-1836] was a pillar of Pennsylvania's legal establishment and a highly regarded attorney and educator. In 1791 President George Washington appointed him the U.S. district attorney for Pennsylvania. In 1830 Rawle helped revise the civil code of Pennsylvania.
For each myth, Raphael first notes the kernel of truth it represents, since most myths have some basis in fact. Then he presents a big “BUT”—the larger context that reveals what the myth distorts. What did the framers see as the true role of government? What did they think of taxes? At the Constitutional Convention, how did they mix principles with politics? Did James Madison really father the Constitution? Did the framers promote a Bill of Rights? Do the so-called Federalist Papers reveal the Constitution’s inner meaning?
An authoritative and entertaining book, which “should appeal equally to armchair historians and professionals in the field” (Booklist), Constitutional Myths reveals what our founding document really says and how we should apply it today.
In this Broadside, David Kopel explains why the right to keep and bear arms has always been central to the American identity – and why Americans have always resisted gun control. The American Revolution was sparked by British attempts to confiscate guns. After the Civil War, the U.S. changed the Constitution to defeat the nation’s first gun-control organization, the Ku Klux Klan. When Hitler and Stalin demonstrated how gun registration paves the way for gun confiscation, which paves the way for genocide, Americans resolved to make sure it never happens here.
Gun control is not an issue of left vs. right or urban vs. rural. The right to bear arms is crucial to prevent large-scale tyranny by criminal governments and small-scale tyranny by ordinary criminals – and to protect our Constitution.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
With The Second Amendment Primer, Les Adams finally provides an accessible discussion of the Second Amendment. It is a “primer” because it is elementary. Chronologically arranged, it traces the development of the right to keep and bear arms from its birth in ancient Greece to its addition in the U.S. Constitution. Supplemental essays discuss the Second Amendment’s interpretation in today’s world from the viewpoints of both firearms enthusiasts as well as those who would limit the amendment’s purview.
Although The Second Amendment Primer is aimed at the average reader, Adams’s facts are detailed and well-documented. Reference margin notes, an extensive bibliography, and a comprehensive subject index showcase the author’s research and show more curious readers how to continue on their path to understanding exactly what the Second Amendment is saying. Using this “citizen’s guide” as a stepping stone, anyone can become a successful scholar of the right to bear arms.
In The Tempting of America, one of our most distinguished legal minds offers a brilliant argument for the wisdom and necessity of interpreting the Constitution according to the “original understanding” of the Framers and the people for whom it was written.
Widely hailed as the most important critique of the nation’s intellectual climate since The Closing of the American Mind, The Tempting of America illuminates the history of the Supreme Court and the underlying meaning of constitutional controversy. Essential to understanding the relationship between values and the law, it concludes with a personal account of Judge Bork’s chillingly emblematic experiences during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his Supreme Court nomination.
Previous scholars have examined wartime challenges to civil liberties and questions of presidential power, but Neely argues that the constitutional conflict extended to the largest questions of national existence. Drawing on judicial opinions, presidential state papers, and political pamphlets spiced with the everyday immediacy of the partisan press, Neely reveals how judges, lawyers, editors, politicians, and government officials, both North and South, used their constitutions to fight the war and save, or create, their nation.
Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation illuminates how the U.S. Constitution not only survived its greatest test but emerged stronger after the war. That this happened at a time when the nation's very existence was threatened, Neely argues, speaks ultimately to the wisdom of the Union leadership, notably President Lincoln and his vision of the American nation.
Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people.
As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond.
This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.
America’s Unwritten Constitution presents a bold new vision of the American constitutional system, one in which proper interpretation of the Constitution rests on the interplay between its written and unwritten manifestations, but in which interpretation does not, and cannot, depend wholly on one form or the other. Neither America’s written Constitution nor its unwritten Constitution stands alone, Amar shows, and with each eye-opening example he develops a deeper, more compelling way of thinking about constitutional law than has ever been put forth before—a methodology that looks past the basic text to reveal the diverse influences, supplements, and possibilities that comprise it.
The Great Decision tells the riveting story of Marshall and of the landmark court case, Marbury v. Madison, through which he empowered the Supreme Court and transformed the idea of the separation of powers into a working blueprint for our modern state. Rich in atmospheric detail, political intrigue, and fascinating characters, The Great Decision is an illuminating tale of America's formative years and the evolution of our democracy.
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.