Constitution of the United States

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
The Constitution of the United States is the world's oldest written constitution. One of the reasons it has been able to continue for over 200 years is that it was written to include the ability to be changed. It is also a rarity in that it puts limits on the government, not on the people. We speak today about the founding fathers and try to recall their intent in the framing of the Constitution, but we frequently forget that none of the signers was entirely happy with the document. Instead, it was the result of many compromises. Some wanted a stronger central government; others wanted states to have practically all the power. Some wanted to favor the big states; others were afraid the smaller states would have no voice. The Constitution we have tries to bring all these views together to "form a more perfect Union." With chapters that cover the founding fathers, the creation of the Constitution, the compromises made to resolve the big disagreements, the Bill of Rights, and the issues of today that are affected by the Constitution, this book includes many facts about the Constitution and explains its meaning and purpose. The presentation makes this text more suitable for research purposes than for an engaging read. Most of the details needed for a project or a report will be found in these pages. An index makes it easy to find the specific information needed, and a glossary defines more difficult words and concepts. Suggestions for Further Reading and a list of websites provide options for students in need of further sources or interested in learning more.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-These books examine the branches of the federal government, emphasizing how they actually operate and influence citizens' lives. The Constitution is the weakest of the three. Judson does give readers good historical background on the constitutional convention and the issues that had to be resolved in order to write an effective constitution, but she does not include enough information about the main document or the way it has influenced our government. Donald Ritchie's The U.S. Constitution (Chelsea, 1989) provides a broader look at the topic. The Presidency is the best of these three titles; here, Judson provides a readable and interesting overview and discussion of the constitutional basis for the office, the evolution of the roles the president plays, the operations of the White House, and the organization of the executive branch. Both Richard Pious's The Presidency (Silver Burdett, 1991) and Richard Bernstein and Jerome Agel's The Presidency (Walker, 1989) have a more historical focus. The Supreme Court opens with a description of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, using it as an example of the Court's power to force changes in society. Kronenwetter then gives readers a brief description of our judicial system and a short history of the Court. He discusses how it operates and the increasing role that politics has played in appointments and decisions, and concludes with a chapter that details some of the Court's most important decisions. This is a solid, well-written book, but it does not have as much depth as Leon Friedman's The Supreme Court (Chelsea, 1986) or the historical focus of Ann Weiss's The Supreme Court (Enslow, 1987; o.p.). All three books are attractive and include black-and-white illustrations and photos, chapter notes, and bibliographies. However, they join a field that is very crowded, making them additional purchases for most collections.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780894905865
  • Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: American Government in Action Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.21 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.45 (d)

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