Cover image for The words we live by : your annotated guide to the constitution
Title:
The words we live by : your annotated guide to the constitution
Author:
Monk, Linda R.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
288 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Stonesong Press book."
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780786867202
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

THE WORDS WE LIVE BY takes an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions on new rulings on hot button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, gun control, and affirmative action.

In THE WORDS WE LIVE BY, Linda Monk probes the idea that the Constitution may seem to offer cut-and-dried answers to questions regarding personal rights, but the interpretations of this hallowed document are nearly infinite. For example, in the debate over gun control, does "the right of the people to bear arms" as stated in the Second Amendment pertain to individual citizens or regulated militias? What do scholars say? Should the Internet be regulated and censored, or does this impinge on the freedom of speech as defined in the First Amendment? These and other issues vary depending on the interpretation of the Constitution.

Through entertaining and informative annotations, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY offers a new way of looking at the Constitution. Its pages reflect a critical, respectful and appreciative look at one of history's greatest documents. THE WORDS WE LIVE BY is filled with a rich and engaging historical perspective along with enough surprises and fascinating facts and illustrations to prove that your Constitution is a living--and entertaining--document.

Updated now for the first time, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY continues to take an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions on new rulings on hot button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, and affirmative action.


Author Notes

Linda R. Monk received the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award twice -- for her book The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide, and for her work on the documentary Profiles of Freedom: A Living Bill of Rights. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she is a frequent contributor to newspapers nationwide


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Marching methodically through the Constitution, Monk partitions the parchment's text and appends brief historical or legal background to each clause. Upon arrival at the Twenty-seventh Amendment, the reader should be able to sling around such phrases as "original intent" and "implied powers" like a law scholar. On the other hand, Monk's analysis does not pretend to profundity: her aim is to be as populistic as possible. To this end, photos abound that are symbolic of various rights (actor Charlton Heston with his musket; civil rights demonstrators in Selma), as do sidebars quoting founders, jurists, and individuals significant to constitutional development, such as Clarence Earl Gideon. His petition to the Supreme Court resulted in the guarantee of a lawyer to criminal defendants. Monk's illustrations of the expansion of rights--the original Constitution protected few personal liberties--will remind readers how the document really is a "living" entity. Also showing the constitutional basis for the expansion of government power, Monk readily explains the constitutional phrases that imbue American political discourse. --Gilbert Taylor


Publisher's Weekly Review

The U.S. Constitution gets a comprehensive overview in this engaging blend of history and commentary. Monk, author of The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide, traces the history and consequences of each part of this vital document in a line-by-line analysis of the original seven articles and the 27 amendments. Drawing on the writings of constitutional scholars, Supreme Court Justices and concerned citizens like Charlton Heston, playwright Arthur Miller and rock star Ted Nugent, she also gives even-handed but lively accounts of the debates over such Constitutional controversies as the right to bear arms, the right to privacy, church-state separation and capital punishment. The portrait of the Constitution that emerges is a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Some parts, like the Civil War amendments that defined citizenship and equality in granting them to African-Americans, are terse milestones in our evolving understanding of freedom, while elsewhere the Constitution seems like a scratch-pad for ill-considered ideas like the hastily repealed Prohibition Amendment. Monk avoids comparisons with other countries' charters that might have illuminated the Constitution's idiosyncrasies, and skirts deeper critiques, like Daniel Lazare's argument that the Constitution's overall structure of states' rights, separation of powers and checks and balances hobbles rather than effectuates the will of the people. Still, this is a fine introduction to Constitutional history for a general readership laid out rather like a good social studies textbook. Illus. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 8
The Constitution as Conversationp. 9
Part I The Constitution of the United Statesp. 10
The Preamble: We the Peoplep. 11
Article I The Legislative Branchp. 18
Article II The Executive Branchp. 62
Article III The Judicial Branchp. 89
Article IV Full Faith and Creditp. 104
Article V Amendmentsp. 112
Article VI The Supreme Law of the Landp. 118
Article VII Ratificationp. 121
Part II Amendments to the Constitution of the United Statesp. 126
1 Freedom of Expressionp. 127
2 The Right to Bear Armsp. 151
3 Quartering of Troopsp. 154
4 Unreasonable Searches and Seizuresp. 157
5 Due Process of Lawp. 164
6 The Right to a Fair Trialp. 173
7 Trial by Jury in Civil Casesp. 181
8 Cruel and Unusual Punishmentp. 184
9 Unenumerated Rightsp. 190
10 States' Rightsp. 194
11 Lawsuits Against Statesp. 199
12 Choosing the Executivep. 201
13 Abolishing Slaveryp. 205
14 Equal Protection of the Lawsp. 212
15 Suffrage for Black Menp. 229
16 Income Taxesp. 233
17 Direct Election of Senatorsp. 234
18 Prohibitionp. 236
19 Women's Suffragep. 238
20 Lame Ducksp. 242
21 Repealing Prohibitionp. 246
22 Presidential Term Limitsp. 249
23 Electoral Votes for the District of Columbiap. 251
24 Banning the Poll Taxp. 253
25 Presidential Succession and Disabilityp. 255
26 Suffrage for Young Peoplep. 260
27 Limiting Congressional Pay Raisesp. 261
To Decide for Ourselves What Freedom Isp. 263
Endnotesp. 264
Selected Bibliographyp. 273
Indexp. 279