Preamble, articles amendments –
we know what they are,
but what do they mean?
If we’re widely reading something over 200 years after its publication, it’s a classic.
To better understand the meanings of the Constitution’s old-time phrasing and vocabulary, we could use some help – here’s the book we need!
Going article by article, even word by word, we get insights into the historical context of key principles like separation of powers, creating new states, and establishing the U.S. monetary and postal systems.
The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights, detailing important ideas like the rights of free speech, peaceful gatherings, and trial by jury.
Other amendments fine-tuned Constitutional concepts or changed certain sections that were outdated. Did you know that here were no political parties in 1776, so the Vice President was the runner-up in the Presidential election? The 12th Amendment establishes the Electoral College with distinct voting on President and Vice President.
This book gives clarifying ‘translations’ side-by-side with each section of the Constitution and amendments, notes where amendments changed the original document, and provides vocabulary definitions, case examples, and facts in action (the 27th Amendment was ratified in 1992, but had originally been proposed in 1789!).
With full-color art on each page to help readers remember key concepts and fact-checked by a constitutional law scholar, this book makes a very old document very readable today.
Did you have to memorize the Preamble for school?
Book Info: The Constitution Decoded: a Guide to the Document That Shapes Our Nation / Katie Kennedy; art by Ben Kirchner; contributions by Kermit Roosevelt. Workman Publishing, 2020. (author site) (artist site) (contributor site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.