A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments

A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments

A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments

A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments

Synopsis

This text is designed as a companion for those studying and interested in the American Constitution. After the introductory chapter, which discusses the formation of the Constitution, 11 chapters analyze specific portions, with subsequent amendments and commentary following relevant texts.

Excerpt

Almost all Americans know the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. During her visit to the bears' house, Goldilocks discovered that porridge can be too hot or too cold, and chairs and beds can be too hard or too soft. So too, students and citizens find that books can be too long or too short, too ponderous or too breezy. There is, to switch to an Aristotelian analogy, a "golden mean" in regard to good books as well as in respect to conduct and character. This book attempts to strike such a golden mean in regard to a document that is generally conceded to have initiated a new era in human governance. That document is the U.S. Constitution as it has been interpreted and amended over the last two hundred years or so.

One who looks will find no lack of dense scholarly commentaries on the meaning of the Constitution and the latest interpretation to be formulated by the most obscure court or scholar on the Constitution's most controversial provision. The author once heard a colleague comment, with only a hint of hyperbole, that a prominent law professor rewrote the Constitution every time he tried to explain it. In a similar vein, countless books have been published over the past ten years examining principles of constitutional interpretation. To such legal commentaries and hornbooks can be added valuable casebooks, studies of the time and philosophy of the Founding Fathers, and even accounts of the day-to-day proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. So too, there are airy books that do more to extol the Constitution than to explain it or . . .

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