The U.S. Constitution: A Very Short Introduction

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Oxford University Press, 2018 - LAW - 168 pages
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Though the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788, its impact on our lives is as recent as today's news. Claims and counterclaims about the constitutionality of governmental actions are a habit of American politics. This document, which its framers designed to limit power, often has made political conflict inevitable. It also has accommodated and legitimized the political and social changes of a vibrant, powerful democratic nation. A product of history's first modern revolution, the Constitution embraced a new formula for government: it restrained power on behalf of liberty, but it also granted power to promote and protect liberty.

The U.S. Constitution: A Very Short Introduction explores the major themes that have shaped American constitutional history: federalism, the balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. Informed by the latest scholarship, this book places constitutional history within the context of American political and social history. As our nation's circumstances have changed, so has our Constitution.

Today we face serious challenges to the nation's constitutional legacy. Endless wars, a sharply divided electorate, economic inequality, and immigration, along with a host of other issues, have placed demands on government and on society that test our constitutional values. Understanding how the Constitution has evolved will help us adapt its principles to the challenges of our age.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1 The revolutionary Constitution
1
Chapter 2 Federalism
22
Chapter 3 Balance of powers
36
Chapter 4 Property
45
Chapter 5 Representation
60
Chapter 6 Equality
76
Chapter 7 Rights
92
Chapter 8 Security
108
The future Constitution
123
References
127
Further reading
131
Index
137
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About the author (2018)


David J. Bodenhamer is the founding Executive Director of The Polis Center, Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Informatics at IUPUI. Bodenhamer is author or editor of twelve books in American legal and constitutional history and in the new field of spatial humanities, which applies geospatial technologies to humanities disciplines. He is also co-editor of a two book series with Indiana University Press and the IJHAC: A Journal of the Digital Humanities.

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