“We the People”: Reads for Constitution Week

The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms and inalienable rights.

Constitution Week, celebrated annually during the week of September 17-23,  is the commemoration of the adoption of  America’s most important document.

 It was officially enacted on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower from a congressional resolution petitioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution , but it was George W Bush who officially declared the inception of Constitution Week in September 2002.

The aims of the Constitution Week celebration are to:

  • Emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution.
  • Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life.
  • Encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

You can read a transcript of the Constitution, read about its history and meaning,  and explore the amendments at this National Archives link: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution

It is a great time to learn more about the history and meaning of this  founding document and celebrate the freedoms it gave us.  Here are some books available through your Library that can help you along.

American Epic: Reading the U S Constitution by Garrett Epps

The United States is the only nation in the world in which political leaders, judges and soldiers all swear allegiance not to a king or a people but to a document, the Constitution. The Constitution today, however, is much revered but little read. Epps, a legal scholar who is also a journalist and writer of prize-winning fiction, takes readers on a literary tour of the Constitution, finding in it much that is interesting, puzzling, praiseworthy, and sometimes hilarious. “Reading the Constitution like a literary work yields a host of meanings that shed new light on what it means to be an American” he says.

The Bill of Rights : The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties by Carol Berkin

Revered today for articulating America’s founding principles, the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—was in fact a political stratagem executed by James Madison to preserve the Constitution, the Federal government, and the latter’s authority over the states. In the skilled hands of award-winning historian Carol Berkin, the story of the Founders’ fight over the Bill of Rights comes alive in a gripping drama of partisan politics, acrimonious debate, and manipulated procedure.

The Constitution: An Introduction by Michael Stokes Paulsen & Luke Paulsen

Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation’s most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and lay scholar, have combined to write a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution’s history and meaning in clear, accessible terms. Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation.

The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era by Akhil Reed Amar

 America’s preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades and provides a passionate handbook for thinking constitutionally about today’s headlines. Amar shows how the Constitution’s text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic.

The Framers’ Coup : The Making of the United States Constitution by Michael J. Klarman

Americans revere their Constitution. However, most of us are unaware how tumultuous and improbable the drafting and ratification processes were. Based on prodigious research and told largely through the voices of the participants, Klarman narrates how the Framers’ clashing interests shaped the Constitution – and American history itself.

The Heart of the Constitution : How the Bill of Rights Became the Bill of Rights by Gerard

N. Magliocca.

This is the untold story of the most celebrated part of the Constitution.   The Bill of Rights that emerges from Magliocca’s fresh historical examination is a living text that means something different for each generation and reflects the great ideas of the Constitution–individual freedom, democracy, states’ rights, judicial review, and national power in time of crisis. 

Miracle at Philadelphia : the story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September, 1787 by Catherine Drinker Bowen

A classic history of the Federal Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, the stormy, dramatic session that produced the most enduring of political documents: the Constitution of the United States.

The Oath and the Office : A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents by Corey Brettschneider

Constitutional law scholar and political science professor Brettschneider guides us through the Constitution and explains the powers–and limits–that it places on the presidency. From the document itself and from American history’s most famous court cases, we learn why certain powers were granted to the presidency, how the Bill of Rights limits those powers, and what “we the people” can do to influence the nation’s highest public office–including, if need be, removing the person in it. In these brief yet deeply researched chapters, we meet founding fathers such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, as well as key figures from historic cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Korematsu v. United States.

A Pocket Guide to the US Constitution by Andrew B. Arnold

Want to learn about the separation of powers, the emoluments clause, why slaves in colonial America were considered 3/5 of a person, gerrymandering, or why Congressional pay raises are limited? Historian Arnold provides a simple, non-partisan, line-by-line commentary with concise explanations of the Constitution’s meaning and history, offering little known facts and anecdotes about all twenty-seven amendments, and discusses key Supreme Court cases through the ages. For ease of use Arnold follows the actual numbering system of articles, sections, and clauses in the Constitution.

The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History by Ken Gormley

In this sweepingly ambitious volume, the nation’s foremost experts on the American presidency and the U.S. Constitution join together to tell the intertwined stories of how each American president has confronted and shaped the Constitution. Each occupant of the office—the first president to the forty-fourth—has contributed to the story of the Constitution through the decisions he made and the actions he took as the nation’s chief executive.

The Quartet : Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis

The Quartet is the story of the second American founding and of the men responsible–some familiar, such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, and some less so, such as Robert Morris and Governeur Morris. It was these men who shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force a calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement.

The Second Founding : How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution by Eric Foner

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar comes a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time.

U S Constitution by Dr. Michael Arnheim

Walks readers through the Constitutional text, discussing how various articles and amendments have guided legislators and judges, sparked ongoing debates, and continue to influence Americans’ lives.

Ebooks and audiobooks on the constitution can also be found on Hoopla https://www.hoopladigital.com/search?page=1&q=us+constitution&scope=everything&type=direct

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *