The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution: A Fully Annotated Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Amendments, and Selections from The Federalist Papers

Richard Beeman

Language: English

Pages: 155

ISBN: 2:00048839

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A unique and handy guide to the law of land from one of America's most esteemed constitutional scholars.

Known across the country for his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Professor Richard Beeman is one of the nation's foremost experts on the United States Constitution. In this book, he has produced what every American should have: a compact, fully annotated copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and amendments, all in their entirety. A marvel of accessibility and erudition, the guide also features a history of the making of the Consittution with excerpts from The Federalist Papers and a look at crucial Supreme Court cases that reminds us that the meaning of many of the specific provisions of the Constitution has changed over time.

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Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and Post Roads; To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas,

“disloyal persons” suspected of giving aid and comfort to the Confederate cause in prison without benefit of trial. More recently, President George W. Bush, citing provisions of the Patriot Act as well as implied executive powers, sanctioned the holding of several hundred “enemy combatants” in the “war on terror.” The prohibition against bills of attainder, the issuing of edicts aimed at punishing individuals or groups of individuals without benefit of trial, and the ban on ex post facto

than in the small Republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts, by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre on men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters. It must be confessed, that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the

consequence, New York ratified in late July of 1788, followed by the two laggards: North Carolina, in November of 1789, and Rhode Island, in May 1790. The American people, with memories of the excesses of British rule still fresh in their minds, continued to be fearful of an overly centralized government, yet the Federalists had persuaded a substantial majority of those people to overcome their fears and adopt a Constitution giving the new federal government vastly increased powers. Some of

Constitution were not political philosophers but, rather, eighteenth-century politicians confronted with a daunting array of competing interests, provincial attachments, and real-life problems as they sought to hammer out a workable form of federal union. The form the eventual document would take was legal, but the process by which they arrived at the final language of the document was intensely political. After nearly four months of debate, disagreement, and numerous compromises (some of which,

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