U.S. Constitution For Dummies

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John Wiley & Sons, Apr 27, 2009 - Law - 408 pages
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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 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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Table ofContents
and the Judiciary
Constitutional Law The Framework for Governance
Framing the U S Constitution Big Thinkers Big Thoughts
Securing unalienable Rights
Debating theConstitution Listing Some Sources of Confusion Discarding OutOfDate Ideas?
Scrutinizing Sovereignty Who Rules America?
Federalism Forming Oneout of Many Tracing the Origins of U S Federalism
The First Amendment Freedom of Religion Speech and Assembly
Individual versus State Rights Breaking Down the Amendments Clauses Understanding the states rights interpretation
The Third and Fourth Amendments Protecting Citizens from Government Forces
Dealing with Justice and Individual Rights The Sixth through Eighth Amendments
The Ninthand Tenth Amendments Leaving Things Up to the People and States
Addressing Liberties and Modifying the Government More
The Fourteenth Amendment Ensuring Equal Protection

Separation ofPowers ToEachHis
How the CommerceClauseWas Born Interpreting the Commerce Clause
Tracing the Changing Meaning of the Commerce Clause Protecting freedom of contract
Looking at the Role of Commander in Chief
Unmasking theimperial presidency
DuringGood Behaviour The Judicial System
Youre Fired Investigating the Impeachment Process
Achieving Equal Justice Under Law Or
Starts Stopsand Clarifications Amendments since 1870
The Part of Tens Chapter 23Ten Landmark Constitutional Cases
John Marshall
Is the Constitution Outdated?
Constitution ofthe United States of America

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About the author (2009)

Dr. Michael Arnheim is a practicing British barrister, mediator, and academic, as well as the author of a text on British constitutional law. He consults with various U.S. firms on constitutional issues.

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