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Idiot's Guides: The U.S. Constitution

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One of the most revered, imitated, and controversial governmental documents in the world, the U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation for the American government and shapes the lives of Americans every day. Yet, how many of us know its history and the impact it has on guiding our ever evolving nation? Idiot's Guides: The U.S. Constitution, Second Edition, provides you a One of the most revered, imitated, and controversial governmental documents in the world, the U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation for the American government and shapes the lives of Americans every day. Yet, how many of us know its history and the impact it has on guiding our ever evolving nation? Idiot's Guides: The U.S. Constitution, Second Edition, provides you a clear look at the one single document that defines America. Suitable supplemental reading for students in high school government/civics classes and college political science classes, this guide covers the birth of the Constitution and the history and details of its amendments.


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One of the most revered, imitated, and controversial governmental documents in the world, the U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation for the American government and shapes the lives of Americans every day. Yet, how many of us know its history and the impact it has on guiding our ever evolving nation? Idiot's Guides: The U.S. Constitution, Second Edition, provides you a One of the most revered, imitated, and controversial governmental documents in the world, the U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation for the American government and shapes the lives of Americans every day. Yet, how many of us know its history and the impact it has on guiding our ever evolving nation? Idiot's Guides: The U.S. Constitution, Second Edition, provides you a clear look at the one single document that defines America. Suitable supplemental reading for students in high school government/civics classes and college political science classes, this guide covers the birth of the Constitution and the history and details of its amendments.

30 review for Idiot's Guides: The U.S. Constitution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Book

    Idiot’s Guides: The U.S. Constitution, 2E by Timothy Harper “Idiot’s Guides: The U.S. Constitution” provides readers with an accessible tour of the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of the American government. Journalist, author, professor and lawyer, Timothy Harper, helps readers learn more about the Constitution by focusing on how to approach it and how to begin to understand it. The Idiot’s Guides series is a wonderful series that captures popular topics in an eye-catching format. This interes Idiot’s Guides: The U.S. Constitution, 2E by Timothy Harper “Idiot’s Guides: The U.S. Constitution” provides readers with an accessible tour of the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of the American government. Journalist, author, professor and lawyer, Timothy Harper, helps readers learn more about the Constitution by focusing on how to approach it and how to begin to understand it. The Idiot’s Guides series is a wonderful series that captures popular topics in an eye-catching format. This interesting 339-page book includes eighteen chapters and is broken out into the following four parts: 1. Constitutional Basics, 2. Balancing the Branches, 3. Your Basic Rights and 4. Modifying the Government. Positives: 1. A well-written, well-researched book. 2. Mr. Harper has a great command of the topic and most importantly the ability to communicate what he knows to the general public. It’s even-handed and fact-based and it’s fairly easy to follow. 3. Excellent format. The Idiot’s Guides series excels in presenting information in a clear manner. This book has four sidebars to assist the reader: Cases, Definition, We The People, and What it Means to You. 4. In the introduction the author presents clearly the purpose and scope of the book. “The goal of this book is to present history and today’s perspective in an even-handed, fact-based manner that both informs you and helps you do your own analysis of the day’s headlines.” 5. The book is divided in four logical parts. The author walks you through the purpose of each part. 6. A look at the historical and underpinnings of the Constitution. “In 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, a pre-Constitution agreement that was more like an alliance among 13 sovereign nations than a charter for a new nation.” 7. The general vision of a nation. “The Federalists foresaw a single nation that allowed the states to retain many powers while following the rules and laws laid down by the national government.” 8. Does a wonderful job of defining what the constitution is. “A constitution, whether for a powerful nation or for a local garden club, is a set of charter rules, a supreme or paramount law that outlines how the organization will operate. In terms of a nation, the constitution sets forth political principles, establishes power and authority, and defines rights and responsibilities. The constitution outlines the general principles for what a government can and cannot do.” 9. Goes over the entire U.S. Constitution, starting with of course The Preamble. “The Articles of Confederation sought a “perpetual union,” while the Preamble has the loftier goal “to form a more perfect union.”” 10. Explains how the U.S. Constitution came together. “The first wave of ratification came quickly. The Delaware Legislature was the first state to vote to ratify the Constitution on December 7, 1787.” 11. In Part 2 the author focuses on examining the structure of the Constitution, system of checks and balances. 12. Goes over all the Articles. “Article I establishes the branch of government that includes the elected representatives of the people, where laws are proposed, debated, and voted up or down.” 13. In Part 3 the author concentrates on landmark court decisions. Many examples provided. “In 2005, in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the Supreme Court held that it was an unconstitutional establishment of religion for schools to require the teaching of intelligent design.” 14. The author goes over each of the twenty-seven amendments of the constitution. “The First Amendment guarantees the government will not prefer one religion over another. It also guarantees the government will not prefer religion in general over nonreligion or the lack of religion, and it will not prefer nonreligion over religion.” 15. The Second Amendment. “To early Americans, guns were more than a symbol of freedom. They were freedom.” 16. An interesting look at the Fourth Amendment: unreasonable searches and seizures. “This chapter explains how the courts have interpreted and enforced the Fourth Amendment to strengthen individual rights in society—your rights—but also highlights the limits to your rights both in the courtroom and out on the streets.” 17. Jump to the Ninth Amendment, “In effect, this amendment says, “In case someone raises a right we didn’t list, it can still be valid. The government cannot take away a right from the people just because we didn’t mention it.”” 18. A look at the Reconstruction Amendments. “In one of its most infamous decisions, the Supreme Court held that slavery was legal in 1857. The Dred Scott decision.” 19. Prohibition and Repeal. “After the war, however, the temperance movement grew through the Prohibition Party, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and the Anti-Saloon League.” 20. Women’s Suffrage. “Many point to the start of the women’s movement as the 2-day women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848. Organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the convention concluded with a Declaration of Sentiments that objected to the unfair treatment of women politically, culturally, and economically. It also was the first large-scale public demand for women to have the vote.” 21. Excellent Appendixes that includes the entire uninterrupted U.S. Constitution, resources and a glossary of key terms. Negatives: 1. It’s intended for a general audience so does so at the expense of depth. 2. No fault of the author but let’s face it some sections are rather tedious and boring. 3. I would have added a section on the most famous Supreme Court cases in U.S. History. 4. The author keeps it pretty vanilla and is not looking to be provocative. In summary, this is a wonderful book to recommend to laypersons interested in gaining a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution. The author does a wonderful job of going over the U.S. Constitution and he does so in an even-handed manner while providing valuable information. Intended for a general audience, it comes at the price of depth but there is enough here to whet your appetite for more advanced books on the topic. I recommend it. Further recommendations: “America’s Constitution: A Biography” by Akhil Reed Amar, “The U.S. Constitution For Dummies” by Michael Amheim, “The Constitution: Understanding America’s Founding Document” by Michael S. Greve, “Know Your Bill of Rights” by Sean Patrick, “Supreme Court Decisions: 20 Landmark Cases Summarized and Explained” by U.S. Department of State, “The U.S. Constitution: A Reader” by Hillsdale College Politics Faculty, and “The Federalist Papers” by Alexander Hamilton.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bob Berry

    Good Introduction to the US Constitution This book will serve as a great primer for anybody taking their first serious stab at understanding the US Constitution. A good amount of background history and case studies were provided.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jerilyn

    Well researched and written! This is the best of the best! Well done! Understandable. Every High School student should be required to read this one! Also a good book to keep as a reference! Big thumbs up!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lord

    The book was very informative and the material was well presented. It gave a good cursory history and description of the Articles and Amendments to the Constitution.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Today's must read! Given how our Constitution is being used as kindling to ignite our nation's recent explosion of animosity, books like this are a must-have. If we're going to defend the Constitution successfully, we'll need to know exactly what and how it's being threatened.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Rider

    Learn about the basis of our entire government. A good overview of both the Constitution and the context that have occurred since it's inception. Worth the read as a good solid primer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Smith

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roger E. Mundinger

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy Mckinley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Westcott

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Sullivan

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lim

  14. 5 out of 5

    John

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian Thurier

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ralph V

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cathy L Thibodeau

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Grieve

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ida

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Day

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian D. Kucher

  24. 4 out of 5

    Didi Mack

  25. 5 out of 5

    Richard Bruner

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stravo Lukos

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vinnie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Edgar L. Mercer

  29. 5 out of 5

    M

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Solai

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