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
A compact, fully annotated reference to important documents includes coverage of crucial Supreme Court cases that have shaped America's constitutional history.
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. In one portable volume, with accessible annotations and modernizing commentary throughout, Richard Beeman presents The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Beeman has created a fascinating apparatus for understanding the most important document in American history—and why it’s as central in the America of today as it was in creation of the country. Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. Whether readers are encountering these classic writings for the first time, or brushing up in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, these slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens.
Author: Kathleen Ann Uradnik
Through a detailed exploration of the viewpoints involved, this balanced and incisive work promotes understanding of the most divisive issues in American government today. * Includes many sidebars that highlight and elaborate on important aspects of the topic * Provides a list of useful resources for further study with each entry
The book outlines the historical development of Public Law and the state from ancient times to the modern day, offering an account of relevant events in parallel with a general historical background, establishing and explaining the relationships between political, religious, and economic events.
This extensive study suggests that, despite being one of the largest slaveholders in Virginia, Jefferson was consistent in his advocacy of human rights.
The First Amendment Religion Clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This book takes an in-depth look at the religion clause portion of the First Amendment using historical documents and letters. In chapter one examples are given of the historical reasons for why the Framers of the First Amendment (the Founding Fathers) thought it was necessary to list religion as part of the Bill of Rights in the manner that they did. In chapter two documentation is presented showing how they applied it during their times of service in government. The application of the 14th Amendment is examined along with whether or not it should be applied to the 1st Amendment based on the history of both. In chapter three a complete analysis is made of Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” letter, and in chapter four an in-depth investigation is taken into Jefferson’s Virginian Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, and Madison’s Detached Memoranda essay on religion and government interaction. These documents, along with others examined in this book, display the Founding Fathers’ views as to why there is a religious clause, and what its proper application should be between church (that is, religion) and state. This book also contains present day solutions for how the government could act legally and constitutionally regarding religion (and related religious books) and toward those who claim religious reasons as their motivation to physically harm others. History reveals the continued purpose and need for the Religion Clause in the Bill of Rights.
Author: Rochelle Raineri Zuck
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century debates about the constructions of American nationhood and national citizenship, the frequently invoked concept of divided sovereignty signified the division of power between state and federal authorities and/or the possibility of one nation residing within the geopolitical boundaries of another. Political and social realities of the nineteenth century--such as immigration, slavery, westward expansion, Indigenous treaties, and financial panics--amplified anxieties about threats to national/state sovereignty. Rochelle Raineri Zuck argues that, in the decades between the ratification of the Constitution and the publication of Sutton Griggs's novel Imperium in Imperio in 1899, four populations were most often referred to as racial and ethnic nations within the nation: the Cherokees, African Americans, Irish Americans, and Chinese immigrants. Writers and orators from these groups engaged the concept of divided sovereignty to assert alternative visions of sovereignty and collective allegiance (not just ethnic or racial identity), to gain political traction, and to complicate existing formations of nationhood and citizenship. Their stories intersected with issues that dominated nineteenth-century public argument and contributed to the Civil War. In five chapters focused on these groups, Zuck reveals how constructions of sovereignty shed light on a host of concerns including regional and sectional tensions; territorial expansion and jurisdiction; economic uncertainty; racial, ethnic, and religious differences; international relations; immigration; and arguments about personhood, citizenship, and nationhood.
No Property in Man
Author: Sean Wilentz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Driving straight to the heart of the most contentious issue in American history, Sean Wilentz argues controversially that, far from concealing a crime against humanity, the U.S. Constitution limited slavery’s legitimacy—a limitation which in time inspired the antislavery politics that led to Southern secession, the Civil War, and Emancipation.
Author: Phelan Powell
Publisher: Infobase Learning
Compelling portraits of American history's most notable male and female leaders. Includes informative sidebars, interesting and easy-to-understand content. Complements school curriculum. Profiles the New York lawyer who became a diplomat to gather aid and support for the American Revolution, and later served as the new nation's first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian serves as a guide to the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, providing historical contexts and offering interpretive commentary.
The Odd Clauses
Author: Jay Wexler
"An innovative, insightful, and often humorous look at the Constitution's lesser-known clauses, offering a fresh approach to understanding our democracy. In this captivating and witty book, Jay Wexler draws on his extensive background in constitutional law to shine a much-deserved light on some of the Constitution's lesser-known parts. For a variety of reasons, many of the Constitution's "odd clauses" never make it to any court, and therefore never make headlines or even law school classrooms that teach from judicial decisions. Wexler delves into many of those more obscure passages, which he uses to illuminate the essence of our democratic process, including our tripartite government; the principles of equality, liberty, and privacy; and the integrity of our democracy"--
The Living Constitution
Author: David A. Strauss
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once remarked that the theory of an evolving, "living" Constitution effectively "rendered the Constitution useless." He wanted a "dead Constitution," he joked, arguing it must be interpreted as the framers originally understood it. In The Living Constitution, leading constitutional scholar David Strauss forcefully argues against the claims of Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and other "originalists," explaining in clear, jargon-free English how the Constitution can sensibly evolve, without falling into the anything-goes flexibility caricatured by opponents. The living Constitution is not an out-of-touch liberal theory, Strauss further shows, but a mainstream tradition of American jurisprudence--a common-law approach to the Constitution, rooted in the written document but also based on precedent. Each generation has contributed precedents that guide and confine judicial rulings, yet allow us to meet the demands of today, not force us to follow the commands of the long-dead Founders. Strauss explores how judicial decisions adapted the Constitution's text (and contradicted original intent) to produce some of our most profound accomplishments: the end of racial segregation, the expansion of women's rights, and the freedom of speech. By contrast, originalism suffers from fatal flaws: the impossibility of truly divining original intent, the difficulty of adapting eighteenth-century understandings to the modern world, and the pointlessness of chaining ourselves to decisions made centuries ago. David Strauss is one of our leading authorities on Constitutional law--one with practical knowledge as well, having served as Assistant Solicitor General of the United States and argued eighteen cases before the United States Supreme Court. Now he offers a profound new understanding of how the Constitution can remain vital to life in the twenty-first century.
Debates over constitutional rights impact you every day as an American citizen. But do you know what the U.S. Constitution actually says? This accessible guide contains the complete text of the Constitution, with short, descriptive margin notes throughout. Articles and amendments are then analyzed in depth to help you comprehend the basis of democracy. This valuable handbook covers: How the articles and amendments were drafted Insight into the intentions of the creators and the sources they used Controversial interpretations and Supreme Court decisions How the Constitution affects citizens every day The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and unratified Constitutional amendments This book walks you through the history of this essential document and shows how it has guided lawmakers and judges for more than 200 years. This unbiased look at the Constitution will help you feel confident in your knowledge of this all-important document, gain a firmer understanding of how our government works, and put context around today's most pressing issues.
Are liberals right when they cite the “elastic” clauses of the Constitution to justify big government? Or are conservatives right when they cite the Constitution’s explicit limits on federal power? The answer lies in a more basic question: How did the founding generation intend for us to interpret and apply the Constitution? Professor Brion McClanahan, popular author of The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Founding Fathers, finds the answers by going directly to the source—to the Founding Fathers themselves, who debated all the relevant issues in their state constitutional conventions. In The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution, you’ll discover: How the Constitution was designed to protect rather than undermine the rights of States Why Congress, not the executive branch, was meant to be the dominant branch of government—and why the Founders would have argued for impeaching many modern presidents for violating the Constitution Why an expansive central government was the Founders’ biggest fear, and how the Constitution—and the Bill of Rights—was designed to guard against it Why the founding generation would regard most of the current federal budget—including “stimulus packages”—as unconstitutional Why the Founding Fathers would oppose attempts to “reform” the Electoral College Why the Founding Fathers would be horrified at the enormous authority of the Supreme Court, and why the Founders intended Congress, not the Court, to interpret federal law Authoritative, fascinating, and timely, The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution is the definitive layman’s guide to America’s most important—and often willfully misunderstood—historical document