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This book tells you what experts assume you already know.
The available pocket-sized and back-of-the-textbook Constitutions dont do enough. They format the Constitution like a short story. They leave out the names of articles, sections, and clauses. They leave out the standard numbering system. They dont define basic terms.
My students need this information, so familiar to lawyers and scholars. When I ask students to turn to the Commerce Clause, I want us to end up in the same place (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). And when we get there, I want them to know what it means.
Most non-pocket guides have the opposite problem. They tend to be massive and impenetrable. Scholars and lawyers examine the Constitution case by case, topic by topic, amendment by amendment. They use a specialized language. They assume their readers already know the subject, as well as the legal and scholarly debates.
But the Constitution is not only a matter of scholarly, legal debate; it is part of the way Americans live. It is how we understand our rights and obligations as people and as A Peopleevery day. We need a guide that will fit in a pocket, briefcase, or backpack. We need a way to answer basic questions that arise day to day, or in a class period, or in the course of reading more in-depth books on the topic.
This book is a place to begin to understand the United States Constitution. It is as complete as I can make it and still have it fit in your pocket. Its as simple as I can make and still have it be accurate.
Andrew B. Arnold, Ph.D.