The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution

The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution
Author: Richard Beeman
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781101459003
Available:
Release: 2010-08-31
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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What is the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court really allowed to do? This unique and handy guide includes the documents that guide our government, annotated with accessible explanations 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 Constitution 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. "Excellent . . . valuable and judicious." -Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution
Author: Richard Beeman
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781101603680
Available:
Release: 2012-08-28
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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What is the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court really allowed to do? This unique and handy guide includes the documents that guide our government, annotated with accessible explanations from one of America's most esteemed constitutional scholars. In one portable volume, with accessible annotations and modernizing commentary throughout, Richard Beeman presents The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Beeman has created a fascinating apparatus for understanding the most important document in American history—and why it’s as central in the America of today as it was in creation of the country. Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. Whether readers are encountering these classic writings for the first time, or brushing up in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, these slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens.

Supreme Court Decisions

Supreme Court Decisions
Author: Richard Beeman
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781101603710
Available:
Release: 2012-08-28
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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A selection of the landmark Supreme Court decisions that have shaped American society Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life, including the founding documents, pivotal historical speeches, and important Supreme Court decisions, to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. The Supreme Court is one of America's leading expositors of and participants in debates about American values. Legal expert Jay M. Feinman introduces and selects some of the most important Supreme Court Decisions of all time, which touch on the very foundations of American society. These cases cover a vast array of issues, from the powers of government and freedom of speech to freedom of religion and civil liberties. Feinman offers commentary on each case and excerpts from the opinions of the Justices that show the range of debate in the Supreme Court and its importance to civil society. Among the cases included will be Marbury v. Madison, on the supremacy of the Constitution and the power of judicial review; U.S. v. Nixon, on separation of powers; and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a post-9/11 case on presidential power and due process.

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence
Author: Thomas Jefferson
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781788737630
Available:
Release: 2019-11-12
Editor: Verso Books
Language: en

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Co-author of the groundbreaking Empire and Multitude, Michael Hardt examines the Declaration of Independence and other texts by Jefferson, arguing that his powerful concept of democracy provides a biting critique of the current American administration. Introducing this collection of Jefferson’s writings, Michael Hardt makes a powerful case for re-examining the foundational writings of this American revolutionary in order to reignite the dialogue that first conceived of a “land of the free.”

Plain Honest Men

Plain  Honest Men
Author: Richard Beeman
Pages: 544
ISBN: 9781588367266
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Release: 2009-03-17
Editor: Random House
Language: en

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In May 1787, in an atmosphere of crisis, delegates met in Philadelphia to design a radically new form of government. Distinguished historian Richard Beeman captures as never before the dynamic of the debate and the characters of the men who labored that historic summer. Virtually all of the issues in dispute—the extent of presidential power, the nature of federalism, and, most explosive of all, the role of slavery—have continued to provoke conflict throughout our nation's history. This unprecedented book takes readers behind the scenes to show how the world's most enduring constitution was forged through conflict, compromise, and fragile consensus. As Gouverneur Morris, delegate of Pennsylvania, noted: "While some have boasted it as a work from Heaven, others have given it a less righteous origin. I have many reasons to believe that it is the work of plain, honest men."

American Political Speeches

American Political Speeches
Author: Terry Golway,Richard Beeman
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781101603673
Available:
Release: 2012-08-28
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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A selection of speeches by the most inspiring and persuasive orators in American history Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. Whether readers are encountering these classic writings for the first time, or brushing up in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, these slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens. American Political Speeches includes the best American rhetoric from inside and outside the White House. Some of the greatest words spoken in American history have come from men and women who lacked the biggest bully pulpit in the country, but who nevertheless were able to move the nation with words. Frederick Douglass explained the irony of Independence Day from the perspective of a slave. Martin Luther King, Jr. described his dream of an interracial America. William Jennings Bryan gave voice to social discontent with a single phrase, "a cross of gold." Barbara Jordan summoned the nation"s outrage during the impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon. And the best presidents, not by coincidence, have tended to be those with an appreciation for the use of language: Lincoln explaining a new birth of freedom at Gettysburg; John Kennedy voicing moral outrage at the Berlin Wall; Franklin D. Roosevelt chatting to a nation gathered in front of radios; Ronald Reagan addressing Congress freshly healed from an assassination attempt.

Lincoln Speeches

Lincoln Speeches
Author: Abraham Lincoln
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781101603703
Available:
Release: 2012-08-28
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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The defining rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln – politician, president, and emancipator Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. Whether readers are encountering these classic writings for the first time, or brushing up in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, these slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens. As president, Abraham Lincoln endowed the American language with a vigor and moral energy that have all but disappeared from today's public rhetoric. His words are testaments of our history, windows into his enigmatic personality, and resonant examples of the writer's art. Renowned Lincoln and Civil War scholar Allen C. Guelzo brings together this volume of Lincoln Speeches that span the classic and obscure, the lyrical and historical, the inspirational and intellectual. The book contains everything from classic speeches that any citizen would recognize—the first debate with Stephen Douglas, the "House Divided" Speech, the Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural Address—to the less known ones that professed Lincoln fans will come to enjoy and intellectuals and critics praise. These orations show the contours of the civic dilemmas Lincoln, and America itself, encountered: the slavery issue, state v. federal power, citizens and their duty, death and destruction, the coming of freedom, the meaning of the Constitution, and what it means to progress.

The Constitution of the United States

The Constitution of the United States
Author: Founding Fathers
Pages: 64
ISBN: 9780241318508
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Release: 2017-04-06
Editor: Penguin UK
Language: en

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Both enshrining the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens in law, and curbing the power of those who rule them, the US constitution is one of the most significant documents in the history of democracy.

Our Lost Constitution

Our Lost Constitution
Author: Mike Lee
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780698189201
Available:
Release: 2015-04-07
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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The still-unfolding story of America’s Constitution is a history of heroes and villains—the flawed visionaries who inspired and crafted liberty’s safeguards, and the shortsighted opportunists who defied them. Those stories are known by few today. In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensible provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution. For example: • The Origination Clause says that all bills to raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, but contempt for the clause ensured the passage of Obamacare. • The Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the NSA now collects our private data without a warrant. • The Legislative Powers Clause means that only Congress can pass laws, but unelected agencies now produce ninety-nine out of every one hundred pages of legal rules imposed on the American people. Lee’s cast of characters includes a former Ku Klux Klansman, who hijacked the Establishment Clause to strangle Catholic schools; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who called the Second Amendment a fraud; and the revered president who began his first of four terms by threating to shatter the balance of power between Congress and the president, and who began his second term by vowing to do the same to the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the Constitution has always had its defenders. Senator Lee tells the story of how Andrew Jackson, noted for his courage in duels and politics, stood firm against the unconstitutional expansion of federal powers. He brings to life Ben Franklin’s genius for compromise at a deeply divided constitutional convention. And he tells how in 2008, a couple of unlikely challengers persuaded the Supreme Court to rediscover the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. Sections of the Constitution may have been forgotten, but it’s not too late to bring them back—if only we remember why we once demanded them and how we later lost them. Drawing on his experience working in all three branches of government, Senator Lee makes a bold case for resurrecting the Lost Constitution to restore and defend our fundamental liberties.

The U S Constitution 2nd Edition

The U S  Constitution  2nd Edition
Author: Timothy Harper
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781465458056
Available:
Release: 2016-09-13
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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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 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.

The Everything U S Constitution Book

The Everything U S  Constitution Book
Author: Ellen M Kozak
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781440525612
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Release: 2011-05-18
Editor: Simon and Schuster
Language: en

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Debates over constitutional rights impact you every day as an American citizen. But do you know what the U.S. Constitution actually says? This accessible guide contains the complete text of the Constitution, with short, descriptive margin notes throughout. Articles and amendments are then analyzed in depth to help you comprehend the basis of democracy. This valuable handbook covers: How the articles and amendments were drafted Insight into the intentions of the creators and the sources they used Controversial interpretations and Supreme Court decisions How the Constitution affects citizens every day The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and unratified Constitutional amendments This book walks you through the history of this essential document and shows how it has guided lawmakers and judges for more than 200 years. This unbiased look at the Constitution will help you feel confident in your knowledge of this all-important document, gain a firmer understanding of how our government works, and put context around today's most pressing issues.

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers
Author: Alexander Hamilton,John Jay,James Madison
Pages: 497
ISBN: 9781528785877
Available:
Release: 2018-08-20
Editor: Read Books Ltd
Language: en

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Classic Books Library presents this brand new edition of “The Federalist Papers”, a collection of separate essays and articles compiled in 1788 by Alexander Hamilton. Following the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776, the governing doctrines and policies of the States lacked cohesion. “The Federalist”, as it was previously known, was constructed by American statesman Alexander Hamilton, and was intended to catalyse the ratification of the United States Constitution. Hamilton recruited fellow statesmen James Madison Jr., and John Jay to write papers for the compendium, and the three are known as some of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Alexander Hamilton (c. 1755–1804) was an American lawyer, journalist and highly influential government official. He also served as a Senior Officer in the Army between 1799-1800 and founded the Federalist Party, the system that governed the nation’s finances. His contributions to the Constitution and leadership made a significant and lasting impact on the early development of the nation of the United States.

America s Constitution

America s Constitution
Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Pages: 672
ISBN: 9781588364876
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Release: 2012-02-29
Editor: Random House
Language: en

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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.

Impeachment

Impeachment
Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780525506843
Available:
Release: 2019-06-04
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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“With insight, wisdom, affection, and concern, Sunstein has written the story of impeachment every citizen needs to know. This is a remarkable, essential book.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin No one is above the law, not even the president. Impeachment is the most potent tool the founders gave us to ensure it, and yet few of us even know how it works. As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, Americans have a republic, if we can keep it. Preserving the Constitution and the democratic system it supports is the public's responsibility. One route the Constitution provides for discharging that duty--a route rarely traveled--is impeachment. Expanding beyond violations of the law, impeachment was meant to defend against any action that would undermine the foundations of our republic. Harvard Law professor Cass R. Sunstein provides a succinct citizen's guide to this essential tool of self-government. Taking us deeper than mere partisan politics, he illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the people's role in holding presidents accountable. In spite of the loud national debate over whether or not the House is right to impeach Trump, impeachment itself remains widely misunderstood. Sunstein identifies and corrects a number of common misconceptions, and describes how impeachment helps is an essential piece of our constitutional order, and a crucial part of the framers' decision to install an empowered executive in a nation deeply fearful of kings. With an eye toward the past and the future, Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide considers a host of actual and imaginable arguments for a president's removal, explaining why some cases are easy and others hard, why some arguments for impeachment have been judicious and others not. And with an afterword and appendix on the current impeachment, it puts the national debate in its proper historical context. In direct and approachable terms, it is a guide through the treacherous waters of the impeachment process so that Americans of all political convictions may use their ultimate civic authority wisely.

Written Out of History

Written Out of History
Author: Mike Lee
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780399564475
Available:
Release: 2017-05-30
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Some of America’s most important founders have been erased from our history books. In the fight to restore the true meaning of the Constitution, their stories must be told. In the earliest days of our nation, a handful of unsung heroes—including women, slaves, and an Iroquois chief—made crucial contributions to our republic. They pioneered the ideas that led to the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, and the abolition of slavery. Yet, their faces haven’t been printed on our currency or carved into any cliffs. Instead, they were marginalized, silenced, or forgotten—sometimes by an accident of history, sometimes by design. In the thick of the debates over the Constitution, some founders warned about the dangers of giving too much power to the central government. Though they did not win every battle, these anti-Federalists and their allies managed to insert a system of checks and balances to protect the people from an intrusive federal government. Other forgotten figures were not politicians themselves, but by their thoughts and actions influenced America’s story. Yet successive generations have forgotten their message, leading to the creation of a vast federal bureaucracy that our founders would not recognize and did not want. Senator Mike Lee, one of the most consistent and impassioned opponents of an abusive federal government, tells the story of liberty’s forgotten heroes. In these pages, you’ll learn the true stories of founders such as... • Aaron Burr who is depicted in the popular musical Hamilton and in history books as a villain, but in reality was a far more complicated figure who fought the abuse of executive power. • Mercy Otis Warren, one of the most prominent female writers in the Revolution and a protégé of John Adams, who engaged in vigorous debates against the encroachment of federal power and ultimately broke with Adams over her fears of the Constitution. • Canasatego, an Iroquois chief whose words taught Benjamin Franklin the basic principles behind the separation of powers. The popular movement that swept Republicans into power in 2010 and 2016 was led by Americans who rediscovered the majesty of the Constitution and knew the stories of Hamilton, Madison, and Washington. But we should also know the names of the contrarians who argued against them and who have been written out of history. If we knew of the heroic fights of these lost founders, we’d never have ended up with a government too big, too powerful, and too unresponsive to its citizens. The good news is that it’s not too late to rememberand to return to our first principles. Restoring the memory of these lost individuals will strike a crippling blow against big government.

The U S Constitution for Everyone

The U S  Constitution for Everyone
Author: Jerome B. Agel,Mort Gerberg
Pages: 64
ISBN: 0399513051
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Release: 1991-03-21
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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History comes alive in this illustrated guide to the Constitution and all 27 Amendments. The Constitution has been in the news a lot recently. But most of us could probably use a refresher on this founding document of America--you can probably name the first and second amendments, but what about the 11th, or the 22nd? And what does all of that formal political language actually mean for us today? The U.S. Constitution for Everyone answers these questions and more, like: - How does impeachment work, anyway? - How long is a Senator's term? - What is covered by "freedom of speech"? - What are "emoluments"? - How exactly does a bill become a law? This book makes understanding your rights easy with clear explanations of the complete text of the U.S. Constitution, as well as all 27 Amendments, alongside fascinating historical facts and explanations. A must-read for students, curious citzens, and everyone who'd like to know more about the supreme laws of our nation.

Me the People

Me the People
Author: Kevin Bleyer
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9780812981681
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Release: 2013-07-02
Editor: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Language: en

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The United States Constitution promised a More Perfect Union. It’s a shame no one bothered to write a more perfect Constitution—one that didn’t trigger more than two centuries of arguments about what the darn thing actually says. Until now. Perfection is at hand. A new, improved Constitution is here. And you are holding it. But first, some historical context: In the eighteenth century, a lawyer named James Madison gathered his friends in Philadelphia and, over four long months, wrote four short pages: the Constitution of the United States of America. Not bad. In the nineteenth century, a president named Abraham Lincoln freed an entire people from the flaws in that Constitution by signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Pretty impressive. And in the twentieth century, a doctor at the Bethesda Naval Hospital delivered a baby—but not just any baby. Because in the twenty-first century, that baby would become a man, that man would become a patriot, and that patriot would rescue a country . . . by single-handedly rewriting that Constitution. Why? We think of our Constitution as the painstakingly designed blueprint drawn up by, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, an “assembly of demigods” who laid the foundation for the sturdiest republic ever created. The truth is, it was no blueprint at all but an Etch A Sketch, a haphazard series of blunders, shaken clean and redrawn countless times during a summer of petty debates, drunken ramblings, and desperate compromise—as much the product of an “assembly of demigods” as a confederacy of dunces. No wonder George Washington wished it “had been made more perfect.” No wonder Benjamin Franklin stomached it only “with all its faults.” The Constitution they wrote is a hot mess. For starters, it doesn’t mention slavery, or democracy, or even Facebook; it plays favorites among the states; it has typos, smudges, and misspellings; and its Preamble, its most famous passage, was written by a man with a peg leg. Which, if you think about it, gives our Constitution hardly a leg to stand on. [Pause for laughter.] Now stop laughing. Because you hold in your hands no mere book, but the most important document of our time. Its creator, Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer, paid every price, bore every burden, and saved every receipt in his quest to assure the salvation of our nation’s founding charter. He flew to Greece, the birthplace of democracy. He bused to Philly, the home of independence. He went toe-to-toe (face-to-face) with Scalia. He added nightly confabs with James Madison to his daily consultations with Jon Stewart. He tracked down not one but two John Hancocks—to make his version twice as official. He even read the Constitution of the United States. So prepare yourselves, fellow patriots, for the most significant literary event of the twenty-first, twentieth, nineteenth, and latter part of the eighteenth centuries. Me the People won’t just form a More Perfect Union. It will save America. Praise for Me the People “I would rather read a constitution written by Kevin Bleyer than by the sharpest minds in the country.”—Jon Stewart “Bleyer takes a red pencil to democracy’s most hallowed laundry list. . . . Uproarious and fascinating.”—Reader’s Digest “I knew James Madison. James Madison was a friend of mine. Mr. Bleyer, you are no James Madison. But you sure are a heck of a lot more fun.”—Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Team of Rivals

The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution

The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution
Author: Ganesh Sitaraman
Pages: 423
ISBN: 9780451493910
Available:
Release: 2017
Editor: Knopf
Language: en

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"Argues that America's strong and sizable middle class is actually embedded in the framework of the nation's government and its founding document and discusses the necessity of taking equality-establishing measures, "--NoveList.

Americanon

Americanon
Author: Jess McHugh
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781524746650
Available:
Release: 2021-06-01
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

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“An elegant, meticulously researched, and eminently readable history of the books that define us as Americans. For history buffs and book-lovers alike, McHugh offers us a precious gift.”—Jake Halpern, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author “With her usual eye for detail and knack for smart storytelling, Jess McHugh takes a savvy and sensitive look at the 'secret origins' of the books that made and defined us. . . . You won't want to miss a one moment of it.”—Brian Jay Jones, author of Becoming Dr. Seuss and the New York Times bestselling Jim Henson The true, fascinating, and remarkable history of thirteen books that defined a nation Surprising and delightfully engrossing, Americanon explores the true history of thirteen of the nation’s most popular books. Overlooked for centuries, our simple dictionaries, spellers, almanacs, and how-to manuals are the unexamined touchstones for American cultures and customs. These books sold tens of millions of copies and set out specific archetypes for the ideal American, from the self-made entrepreneur to the humble farmer. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Webster's Dictionary, Emily Post’s Etiquette: Americanon looks at how these ubiquitous books have updated and reemphasized potent American ideals—about meritocracy, patriotism, or individualism—at crucial moments in history. Old favorites like the Old Farmer’s Almanac and Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book are seen in this new way—not just as popular books but as foundational texts that shaped our understanding of the American story. Taken together, these books help us understand how their authors, most of them part of a powerful minority, attempted to construct meaning for the majority. Their beliefs and quirks—as well as personal interests, prejudices, and often strange personalities—informed the values and habits of millions of Americans, woven into our cultural DNA over generations of reading and dog-earing. Yet their influence remains uninvestigated--until now. What better way to understand a people than to look at the books they consumed most, the ones they returned to repeatedly, with questions about everything from spelling to social mobility to sex. This fresh and engaging book is American history as you’ve never encountered it before.

The Gun the Ship and the Pen Warfare Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World

The Gun  the Ship  and the Pen  Warfare  Constitutions  and the Making of the Modern World
Author: Linda Colley
Pages: 512
ISBN: 9781631498350
Available:
Release: 2021-03-30
Editor: Liveright Publishing
Language: en

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Vivid and magisterial, The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen reconfigures the rise of a modern world through the advent and spread of written constitutions. A work of extraordinary range and striking originality, The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen traces the global history of written constitutions from the 1750s to the twentieth century, modifying accepted narratives and uncovering the close connections between the making of constitutions and the making of war. In the process, Linda Colley both reappraises famous constitutions and recovers those that have been marginalized but were central to the rise of a modern world. She brings to the fore neglected sites, such as Corsica, with its pioneering constitution of 1755, and tiny Pitcairn Island in the Pacific, the first place on the globe permanently to enfranchise women. She highlights the role of unexpected players, such as Catherine the Great of Russia, who was experimenting with constitutional techniques with her enlightened Nakaz decades before the Founding Fathers framed the American constitution. Written constitutions are usually examined in relation to individual states, but Colley focuses on how they crossed boundaries, spreading into six continents by 1918 and aiding the rise of empires as well as nations. She also illumines their place not simply in law and politics but also in wider cultural histories, and their intimate connections with print, literary creativity, and the rise of the novel. Colley shows how—while advancing epic revolutions and enfranchising white males—constitutions frequently served over the long nineteenth century to marginalize indigenous people, exclude women and people of color, and expropriate land. Simultaneously, though, she investigates how these devices were adapted by peoples and activists outside the West seeking to resist European and American power. She describes how Tunisia generated the first modern Islamic constitution in 1861, quickly suppressed, but an influence still on the Arab Spring; how Africanus Horton of Sierra Leone—inspired by the American Civil War—devised plans for self-governing nations in West Africa; and how Japan’s Meiji constitution of 1889 came to compete with Western constitutionalism as a model for Indian, Chinese, and Ottoman nationalists and reformers. Vividly written and handsomely illustrated, The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen is an absorbing work that—with its pageant of formative wars, powerful leaders, visionary lawmakers and committed rebels—retells the story of constitutional government and the evolution of ideas of what it means to be modern.