The Annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence

The Annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence

5.0 2
by Jack Rakove
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Here in a beautifully bound cloth gift edition are the two founding documents of the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence (1776), our great revolutionary manifesto, and the Constitution (1787-88), in which "We the People" forged a new nation and built the framework for our federal republic. Together with the Bill of Rights and the Civil War

Overview

Here in a beautifully bound cloth gift edition are the two founding documents of the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence (1776), our great revolutionary manifesto, and the Constitution (1787-88), in which "We the People" forged a new nation and built the framework for our federal republic. Together with the Bill of Rights and the Civil War amendments, these documents constitute what James Madison called our "political scriptures," and have come to define us as a people. Now a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian serves as a guide to these texts, providing historical contexts and offering interpretive commentary.

Editorial Reviews

Adam Liptak
Rakove…gains momentum as his book progresses. His writing becomes slyer, shedding some of its textbook quality.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
This probing commentary on America's founding documents by constitutional historian Rakove (winner of a Pulitzer for Original Meanings) begins with a long essay on their historical and political background, stressing their ideological innovations. His detailed exegeses unavoidably lose some thematic coherence while elucidating the Declaration as a work of propaganda (considerably overstating George III's despotism, notes Rakove) and the Constitution's murky political compromises. Rakove is a constitutionalist—but he's palpably dissatisfied with the Constitution we've got. Among other complaints, he says amending the Constitution is so difficult, we passively interpret it instead of remaking it to suit our evolving purposes. Rakove's is a lucid, thought-provoking guide to the contents—and discontents—of our national charters. 34 b&w illus. (Nov.)
Library Journal
What are the frameworks through which we govern our country? In separate texts, Rakove and Lipsky provide annotated analysis of our founding U.S. documents. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rakove (history & political science, Stanford Univ.; Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution) presents both the Declaration and the Constitution with carefully laid out annotation that's accessible to general readers as well as high school and college students. His extended introduction provides a readable and instructive analysis of how the writing of the Constitution progressed, especially on matters concerning representation, executive power, and creation of the amendments. His annotations often rely upon contemporary usage and meaning from the time of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution—useful for students to understand—and he compares such usage to other documents of the time.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
With more decisions to come on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's redefinition of campaign--finance law in the context of the First Amendment, [this book is a] timely reminder that Americans too rarely read, much less consider, their nation's most important documents as closely as they should...[It's an] important addition to a vital and ongoing American debate. Whatever one thinks the Constitution and Declaration of Independence mean, there's value in revisiting those texts, reviewing how they've been construed throughout U.S. history and reconsidering arguments for and against differing interpretations. [This book] invites Americans to do just that--and to renew their appreciation for the genius of those who drafted the blueprints for U.S. freedom and republican government.
— Alan Wallace
New Republic online
Provide[s] some essential civic education...Rakove's inclusion of (and comments on) the Declaration of Independence is useful, and his extensive introduction is especially valuable. Rakove is one of the most gifted writers among contemporary American historians, and he provides an illuminating overview of the political history that generated both the Declaration in 1776 and then, only eleven years later (following the failure of our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation) the Constitution that was drafted in Philadelphia.
— Sanford Levinson
Michael J. Klarman
Jack Rakove is one of the most distinguished historians of this nation's Founding era. Here, he explores the background of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and explicates their meaning. Every American citizen wishing to know more about our founding documents will find this book an invaluable introduction to our distinctive legal heritage.
Sanford Levinson
Provide[s] some essential civic education...Rakove's inclusion of (and comments on) the Declaration of Independence is useful, and his extensive introduction is especially valuable. Rakove is one of the most gifted writers among contemporary American historians, and he provides an illuminating overview of the political history that generated both the Declaration in 1776 and then, only eleven years later (following the failure of our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation), the Constitution that was drafted in Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Alan Wallace
With more decisions to come on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's redefinition of campaign--finance law in the context of the First Amendment, [this book is a] timely reminder that Americans too rarely read, much less consider, their nation's most important documents as closely as they should...[It's an] important addition to a vital and ongoing American debate. Whatever one thinks the Constitution and Declaration of Independence mean, there's value in revisiting those texts, reviewing how they've been construed throughout U.S. history and reconsidering arguments for and against differing interpretations. [This book] invites Americans to do just that--and to renew their appreciation for the genius of those who drafted the blueprints for U.S. freedom and republican government.
Choice - W. Jakub
Unlike many of his contemporaries, [Rakove] breathes life into the two founding documents of the U.S., and arguably into the ideals and beliefs that define America and Americanism. This volume gives students, scholars, practitioners, and general readers an insightful, easily understood, and well-researched narrative political account of how these documents came to be written. Rakove places the colorful personalities of the founding fathers, along with the concepts, issues, and concerns involved with these documents, within an easily discernable context. His attention to historical and political detail is unwavering and on target. Indeed he puts the fun back into reading and learning about the U.S.'s two most important documents.
New Yorker - Jill Lepore
[An] excellent guide...valuable and judicious.
Claremont Review of Books - Matthew Spalding
Gracefully written...compact and easy to read...Rakove is nuanced and judicious.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674054479
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
1,005,137
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Jack Rakove provides clear and accessible annotations to the two most fundamental documents of America's civil religion. Especially important are his insights about 'hard-wired' constitutional provisions that, because they are never litigated, are too often ignored with regard to their role in structuring the American polity. This book will prove of immense value to students, scholars, and ordinary citizens.
Sanford Levinson
Jack Rakove provides clear and accessible annotations to the two most fundamental documents of America's civil religion. Especially important are his insights about 'hard-wired' constitutional provisions that, because they are never litigated, are too often ignored with regard to their role in structuring the American polity. This book will prove of immense value to students, scholars, and ordinary citizens.
Sanford Levinson, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)
Michael J. Klarman
Jack Rakove is one of the most distinguished historians of this nation's Founding era. Here, he explores the background of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and explicates their meaning. Every American citizen wishing to know more about our founding documents will find this book an invaluable introduction to our distinctive legal heritage.
Michael J. Klarman, Kirkland & Ellis Professor, Harvard Law School

Meet the Author

Jack N. Rakove is the William R. Coe Professor of History and American Studies and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Annotated U. S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CrackerJack505 More than 1 year ago
none
DdonAPsleuth More than 1 year ago
Dr. Rakove is at his best covering this fascinating subject about our nation's leading document. It's interpretation by scholars is an ongoing process. It is a compact volume and easy to find quick material about each section and clause in the document. I find it helpful when teaching class and needing a quick interpretation for students. Students have found it an easy read and a valuable research tool.