A guide to the US constitution...anyone know a good one?

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Jailorinummqasr, Sep 10, 2006.

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  1. I'm trying to ‘Gen up’ on all things US, one area of weakness is an explanation of the constitution and structures (+ relationships of) federal and state governments. i.e. How the US functions at a political level.

    The ideal book would be aimed at snr high school students or a freshman majoring in politics. Preferably, fairly easy to read and well structured.

    Any ideas???
  2. I'm presuming this is for your own consumption, Jailor.

    You can pick up a hard copy on Amazon for about $4-5- or just download it from t'interweb. I'd also suggest you also take a look at The Federalist Papers. They were written for mass consumption around the time of the framing of the Constitution to try explain what was going on, the framers' thinking and garner support for its ratification. They're sort of the bedrock for most scholars' attempts to understand the thinking of the framers, but you have to be aware that since they were attempts to influence public opinion, they also have to be considered pieces of spin to a degree.

    I'd suggest this as a good place to start:


    If you want a hand to look at the legal and political considerations at the time of the Framing:


    Or a contrasting (much more critical) view:


    I'm sure Virgil can help you out, but since he's a lawyer, he'll probably try to bill you. :wink:
  3. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    I thought the US Constitution was very clear. Throw out the Brits, kills the Red Indians (who had never been anywhere near India) and take over the world.

    Of course you had to go through a civil war (most countries do at some stage) and arrive 'late' at the major wars of the 20th Century, while making shed loads of cash.

    Now you have the Good Ole US ofd A.

    Not much different from previous powers. :cry:
  4. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer


    Last year I did an OU course entitled 'America in the 20th Century' D214.

    One of the course books goes into the most laborious detail you could need on the checks and balances in the US system, covering not just the Constitution but the pivotal role of the Supreme Court and how the Senate and Congress function and inter relate.

    Sounds like it might fit the bill - joo wan' ?

    Le Chevre
  5. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    If he doesn't I know someone who could really do with a copy, drop him a line, tho' I have a feeling he might not be that interested...

  6. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    dude, I think the current incumbent knows the THEORY pretty well.....it's the tricky thing about 'putting it into practice ' he has some ...uh...difficulties with.

    Mind you , groaning under the iron tipped jackboot of Neue Arbeit neo-fascists and the reality-challeneged Celestial Navigator as we do -

    " Pot DE Kettle K ?"

    Le Chevre
  7. Dearest madame,

    I humbly and profusely apologise for the heinous crime of "being Uhmurrikun". Speaking for one and all (past, present and future) we'd like to make it up to you. May we pay for your monthly menopause treatments? Please do RSVP on this urgent matter.

    a humbled resident of South Canada
  8. Septics - get over it - I'm sure Auld Whinge was having a laugh. I'm just grateful I'm not typing this in German.
  9. Dipshit, get over it. I was just having a laugh too. I'm just gratefull that you can tell when someone is just having a laugh...oh, wait.
  10. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Now hang on....was that ironically or sardonically said?

    Jailor - the course book is called
    " The United States in the Twentieth Century: Democracy"
    Edited by Richard Maidment ISBN 0-340-75823-6

    Rather apposite quote, relating to the tyranny of the majority:

    So what is President Bush's ruling passion then? According to the arch-demon Greg Palast it's pretty simple.

    'Ya dance with them that brung ya"

    hey ho...time to go...

    Lee Shaver
  11. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    Back to original question (boring :D ), in addition to booklets try "The American System of Government" by Ernest S Griffith - picked up a copy (1983, 6th edition) today at a book fair. Only got as far as page 3 before "management" interrupted, but it was written by Prof. Griffith (lecturer at Oxford and other minor Unis) in the 50s and "... written specifically for those whose experience is more with governments of other types, especially the British parliamentary system."

    No idea where you'll get one, though - eBay?

    USA airport shops also sell similar items, presumably to persuade departing visitors to the "Great Nation" that there is some logic behind what goes on. Surprised they don't issue them free at the Immigration Desk!

    Please spare us (you) a UK written constitution, although hopefully Bliar should be gone before Cherry has finished drafting it :D :roll:
  12. Try the Bible.It works for Bush, it will work for you.
  13. Fair dinkum, mate! :D
  14. As Dogface notes, probably simplest to read it: it's not long, and is a model of clarity - unlike the EU nonsense.

    Some clear guides/ commentaries can be found at:



    WIKIPEDIA's not bad either.