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U.S. Constitution for Dummies

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An in-depth look at the defining document of America Want to make sense of the U.S. Constitution? This plain-English guide walks you through this revered document, explaining how the articles and amendments came to be and how they have guided legislators, judges, and presidents and sparked ongoing debates. You'll understand all the big issues -- from separation of church a An in-depth look at the defining document of America Want to make sense of the U.S. Constitution? This plain-English guide walks you through this revered document, explaining how the articles and amendments came to be and how they have guided legislators, judges, and presidents and sparked ongoing debates. You'll understand all the big issues -- from separation of church and state to impeachment to civil rights -- that continue to affect Americans' daily lives. Get started with Constitution basics -- explore the main concepts and their origins, the different approaches to interpretation, and how the document has changed over the past 200+ years Know who has the power -- see how the public, the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court share in the ruling of America Balance the branches of government -- discover what it means to be Commander in Chief, the functions of the House and Senate, and how Supreme Court justices are appointed Break down the Bill of Rights -- from freedom of religion to the prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments," understand what the first ten amendments mean Make sense of the modifications -- see how amendments have reformed presidential elections, abolished slavery, given voting rights to women, and more Open the book and find: The text of the Constitution and its ammendments Discussion of controversial issues including the death penalty, abortion, and gay marriage Why the word "democracy" doesn't appear in the Constitution What the Electoral College is and how it elects a President Details on recent Supreme Court decisions The Founding Fathers' intentions for balancing power in Washington


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An in-depth look at the defining document of America Want to make sense of the U.S. Constitution? This plain-English guide walks you through this revered document, explaining how the articles and amendments came to be and how they have guided legislators, judges, and presidents and sparked ongoing debates. You'll understand all the big issues -- from separation of church a An in-depth look at the defining document of America Want to make sense of the U.S. Constitution? This plain-English guide walks you through this revered document, explaining how the articles and amendments came to be and how they have guided legislators, judges, and presidents and sparked ongoing debates. You'll understand all the big issues -- from separation of church and state to impeachment to civil rights -- that continue to affect Americans' daily lives. Get started with Constitution basics -- explore the main concepts and their origins, the different approaches to interpretation, and how the document has changed over the past 200+ years Know who has the power -- see how the public, the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court share in the ruling of America Balance the branches of government -- discover what it means to be Commander in Chief, the functions of the House and Senate, and how Supreme Court justices are appointed Break down the Bill of Rights -- from freedom of religion to the prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments," understand what the first ten amendments mean Make sense of the modifications -- see how amendments have reformed presidential elections, abolished slavery, given voting rights to women, and more Open the book and find: The text of the Constitution and its ammendments Discussion of controversial issues including the death penalty, abortion, and gay marriage Why the word "democracy" doesn't appear in the Constitution What the Electoral College is and how it elects a President Details on recent Supreme Court decisions The Founding Fathers' intentions for balancing power in Washington

30 review for U.S. Constitution for Dummies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    I was about read this book when I found out that it has been gushingly endorsed by none other than Ted Cruz. Uh-oh. Mr. Cruz writes in his foreword: For good or for ill, the meaning of the Constitution has often been very much in the hands of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. This book goes in depth into the different approaches adopted by different justices over the years. Dr. Arnheim explains his own interpretations in simple, direct language, and he also explains why he favors the app I was about read this book when I found out that it has been gushingly endorsed by none other than Ted Cruz. Uh-oh. Mr. Cruz writes in his foreword: For good or for ill, the meaning of the Constitution has often been very much in the hands of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. This book goes in depth into the different approaches adopted by different justices over the years. Dr. Arnheim explains his own interpretations in simple, direct language, and he also explains why he favors the approach that he adopts — while at the same time setting out the opposing views. For example, Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall both believed that the death penalty always constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” Dr. Arnheim explains why he believes they were wrong — based on the text of the Constitution itself. But Dr. Arnheim goes further, arguing that Justices Brennan and Marshall were really confusing what the Constitution actually says with what they as judges thought it ought to have said. There are serious policy arguments both for and against capital punishment — but given that the constitutional text twice explicitly authorizes capital punishment, the only proper way to change that would be a constitutional amendment as laid down in Article V of the Constitution. And an amendment is unlikely to be passed, because large majorities of the American people have consistently supported capital punishment for the very worst criminals. Accordingly, a judge imposing his or her views on the issue is not only unconstitutional, it is also undemocratic. My God. Not killing people is undemocratic? Then what about many democracies which have banned capital punishment? Again... Likewise, in 2008, the Supreme Court decided District of Columbia v. Heller, holding for the fi rst time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms (discussed in depth in Chapter 15). Texas led 31 states in defense of the Second Amendment in that case, and our arguments for giving force to the plain text of the Constitution and the original understanding of the Framers prevailed by a vote of 5 to 4. Yuck. Cruz also says: The Constitution is designed to limit government and to protect all the freedoms that you and I cherish as Americans. I stopped reading, then and there. This book goes from my "to-read" to "never-ever" shelf immediately. Can somebody please recommend a non-biased book on American Constitution, please? 24/01/2017 I have recommended this book to the new President of America, as he seems to be part of the target audience.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vurtqxyrfhujuy

    This is an awful book for anything but fanboys of Scalia. The author repeatedly displays blatant bias, including insults for people he disagrees with, even outside of sections that are marked as opinion. I could have continued reading it just to challenge my own biases, but finally concluded it wasn't worth it when he decided to show how smart he is by denigrating the "government of the people, by the people, for the people" line in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Here are his arguments (Part II, This is an awful book for anything but fanboys of Scalia. The author repeatedly displays blatant bias, including insults for people he disagrees with, even outside of sections that are marked as opinion. I could have continued reading it just to challenge my own biases, but finally concluded it wasn't worth it when he decided to show how smart he is by denigrating the "government of the people, by the people, for the people" line in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Here are his arguments (Part II, Chapter 6, pg 71): So, how does an indirect democracy stand up to Lincoln's three-part test? * Government of the people: This is the easy one. Any government is automatically a government of the people. It doesn't have to be a democratic form of government. A monarchy, a dictatorship, an oligarchy - all are governments of the people, but they aren't governments by the people. * Government by the people: This is the elusive one. Government by the people has never existed in the United States - and could never exist. So what was Abe Lincoln thinking of? Or did he just figure that it had a nice ring to it as part of a threesome? * Government for the people: Every government of every kind everywhere in the world always maintains that it governs in the interest of its people - or for the people. This is not a specifically democratic feature at all. In fairness to Abe, he probably figured that the sort of indirect, representative democracy that we have in the United States was actually government by the people - a pretty dangerous assumption to make by a guy who got into the White House with just 39.8 percent of the popular vote. This is a sad and petty argument against one of the greatest speeches of one of the greatest presidents in our nations history. First, not every government is of the people. This line invokes the doctrine of popular sovereignty, a founding principle in American politics and culture, and is in no way universally held by all governments, either then or now. Second, government by the people is simply a call for democracy. The argument that indirect or representative democracy somehow precludes the government being directed by the people can only be supported by the belief that only direct democracy could legitimately hold claim to this. His argument devolves into nothing more than a difference of opinion, a dispute in which the author is the one holding the unusually narrow and contrarian definition of what democracy entails. And finally, Lincoln was not advocating that government claim to govern in the interest of the people (which is common, as the author notes), but that it actually governs in the interests of the people (something much more rare), that its ultimate purpose is to serve all people, and not simply the political elite. And while this is not a specifically democratic feature, it is certainly a desirable attribute in any government, and an ideal in American politics. Arnheim's attempt at scoring intellectual and iconoclastic points with such flimsy arguments was the final straw that forced me to put down the book. It was tolerable, if annoying, to have an introduction to a topic be so blatant in its biased presentation, but it was step too far to ask the reader to have to put up with such awful argumentation just so Arnheim could have his one up on one of America's greatest political legacies.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rflutist

    This book is a great starting point for reference. However, the only reason I am giving it three stars is that the author makes multiple cross references to "see chapter ___," which became quite annoying. That being said, however, I learned quite a bit and will keep this book in my e-reader.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Took quite awhile to read it since I also found other things I needed to look up concerning this subject. It was a great book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lachelle

    I read half. :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian Linton

    Author did a great job of breaking the Constitution into terms anyone can understand.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bibliophile Bells

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex Hawkins

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Millsap

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Cox

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrew McCreary

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jamie S

  14. 5 out of 5

    Promise Ceasar

    Very good! And handy to have as a reference! :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ece Turgay

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Daily

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cj

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Deardurff

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Coffman

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joe Rush

  23. 5 out of 5

    William Council

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shira Minerd

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karey

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Henkin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vernon A. Smith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brian Mccall

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suellen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

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