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Book Title: America's Constitution: A Biography|
Date of issue: September 13th 2005
ISBN 13: 9781400062621
The author of the book: Akhil Reed Amar
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 389 KB
Edition: Random House Publishing Group
Read full description of the books America's Constitution: A Biography:In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it.
We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius.
Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president.
From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans.
We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election.
Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.
Read information about the authorAkhil Reed Amar is currently Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. He received his B.A, summa cum laude, in 1980 from Yale College, and his J.D. in 1984 from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of The Yale Law Journal. After clerking for Judge Stephen Breyer, he joined the Yale faculty in 1985. In 1994 he received the Paul Bator award from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, and in 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of law by Suffolk University. In 1995 the National Law Journal named him as one of 40 “Rising Stars in the Law,” and in 1997 The American Lawyer placed him on their “Public Sector 45" list. His work on the Bill of Rights also earned the ABA Certificate of Merit and the Yale University Press Governor’s Award. He has delivered endowed lectures at over two dozen colleges and universities, and has written widely on constitutional issues for such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The New Republic, and Slate. He is also a contributing editor to The American Lawyer. His many law review articles and books have been widely cited by scholars, judges, and lawmakers; for example, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court have invoked his work in more than twenty cases, and he has testified before Congress on a wide range of constitutional issues. Along with Dean Paul Brest and Professors Sanford Levinson, Jack Balkin, and Reva Siegel, Professor Amar is the co-editor of a leading constitutional law casebook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking. He is also the author of several books, including The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles (Yale Univ. Press, 1997), The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (Yale Univ. Press, 1998), America’s Constitution: A Biography (Random House 2005), and most recently, America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (Basic Books, 2012).
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