The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers

The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers

The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers

The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers

Synopsis

BL What famous American refused to attend the Constitutional Convention because he "smelt a rat?" BL Why was a Bill of Rights omitted from the original Constitution? BL Can a president be sued for actions he takes in office? BL On what grounds may Congress punish its members? BL Where did the expression "separate but equal" originate? BL Do juvenile defendants have the same constitutional protection as adults? BL Is obscenity protected by the First Amendment freedoms of speech and press? BL What is the Lemon test? BL What is the only Constitutional Amendment that has been ratified by special state conventions rather than by state legislatures? These and other provocative questions are answered in this easy-to-follow guide that makes learning about the Constitution fun for students. Written clearly, this guide addresses those topics of the Constitution students inquire most about, from its origins and background through the adoption of the 27th Amendment. The information in each chapter is organized in a logical progression to carry the reader along to a basic understanding of the provisions and is peppered with fascinating facts and intriguing legal interpretations of topics of interest to young adults.

Excerpt

I have been teaching the United States Constitution to college students for more than twenty years, and over this time, my appreciation for the document and its principles has deepened. I have been pleased to live at a time when there are probably more books, articles, and casebooks on the Constitution than there have ever been before. At the same time, I am somewhat troubled by the seemingly widespread, if somewhat contradictory, views that the Constitution is so enigmatic as to mean anything readers want it to mean or that it is accessible only to experts with political science or law degrees.

In 1993 I published A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments; recently, the second edition has been published (Praeger, 1997). This Companion has had success as a supplement to college classes on American government and the United States Constitution, and I have been heartened by positive comments that I have received from readers of that book.

In this new book, I have sought to make the Constitution similarly accessible to high school students (including my two daughters, who will be high school seniors by the time this book is published) and for general lay readers. I have done this by using a question-and-answer format. Some readers who see this layout and are familiar with a contemporary game may assume that the book is a kind of constitutional Trivial Pursuit. Admittedly, some . . .

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