Cover image for The Constitution and its amendments
The Constitution and its amendments
Newman, Roger K.
Publication Information:
New York : Macmillan Reference USA, [1999]

Physical Description:
4 volumes : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF4557 .C66 1999 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
KF4557 .C66 1999 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
KF4557 .C66 1999 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
KF4557 .C66 1999 V.4 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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Providing a chronological history of the US Constitution, this work places the seven articles and 27 amendments in the context of the social, political and judicial events that formed them, and examines issues and court cases where consitutional interpretation plays a key role.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Although the introduction indicates that this resource is designed as a "primer for students," there are few adults who will fail to learn something new about the Constitution on almost every page. In volume 1, for example, the section "The Impeachment Power" offers the reader Alexander Hamilton's definition of impeachment: "a method of national inquest into the conduct of public men." This section also compares and explains differences between nineteenth-and twentieth-century impeachment practices, defines "high crimes and misdemeanors," and pictures the ticket issued for President Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial. The set contains 160 articles organized generally by constitutional clauses. They provide the text and discuss each of the parts of the Constitution and its amendments. The articles range in length from more than 100 pages for "Article I: The Legislative Branch" to two pages for "Twenty-Fourth Amendment." Longer articles, such as the one on the Fourteenth Amendment, are divided into sections that discuss the history of the amendment along with various concepts (affirmative action, the right to die), subjects (abortion, sexual orientation), and important cases (Brown v. Board of Education) that relate to constitutional history and law. Highlighted terms are defined in the margins. Black-and-white illustrations lend interest and information, as do the many sidebars, such as the one that quotes Thurgood Marshall just after he won Brown v. Board of Education: "There is only but so much lawyers can do." The list of 121 contributors includes their institutional affiliations and identifies which articles they wrote. Each volume has a table of contents for the entire set, and volumes 1-3 have their own indexes. Volume 4 has a cumulative index and a glossary. There are cross-references but, unlike most resources of this type aimed at students, there are no suggested further readings or bibliographies. That, and the lack of footnotes, makes it difficult to verify the contents or to direct those readers who like to see additional sources. Nevertheless, this will be a useful addition to school and public libraries serving students at the middle-school level and up, and will help those who want to expand their knowledge of the basis for our legal and political actions. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-The 165 signed essays in this four-volume set are arranged chronologically and highlight the Constitution's 7 articles and 27 amendments. They offer clear explanations of political, social, and judicial issues and cover important Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board of Education. Abortion, the right to die, and censorship are also discussed. Black-and-white photographs, illustrations, and political cartoons accompany nearly every article, breaking the text into digestible sections. Terms are defined in sidebars, which cumulatively create the glossary found in the fourth volume. The set includes a comprehensive index but lacks a list for further reading. An understandable resource on Constitutional interpretation, distinctive in its accessibility.-Angela L. Bonnell, Milner Library, Normal, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In the ongoing scholarly preoccupation to understand the meaning of the US Constitution, this timely reference source artfully combines history, law, politics, and governing institutions. Recent rivals include Jack N. Rakove's Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (CH, Oct'96) and David E. Kyvig's Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the U.S. Constitution, 1776-1995 (CH, Apr'97). Newman has gathered more than 120 constitutional experts from academe, law, and journalism to write 165 brief essays that examine the key institutions and clauses that make up the Constitution's seven articles and 27 amendments. Other essays briefly examine some leading Supreme Court decisions that relate to important constitutional provisions and rights. Although consciously designed "for students learning about the Constitution for the first time in a formal way . . . , older students as well as the public at large will find that . . .the work addresses their questions in an easily explainable way." The editor claims "No other remotely similar work exists," but there are some similarities with Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, ed. by Leonard Levy et al. (CH, Jun'87), and with Jethro Lieberman's The Evolving Constitution (1992; yearly supplements). Highly recommended for all libraries. E. C. Dreyer; University of Tulsa