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The Heritage Guide to the Constitution [Hardcover]

by Edwin Meese, Matthew Spalding, David F. Forte, Matthew Spalding, David F. Forte
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 7, 2005 159698001X 978-1596980013 0

This guide is the first of its kind, and presents the U.S. Constitution as never before, including a clause-by-clause analysis of the document, each amendment and relevant court case, and the documents that serve as the foundation of the Constitution.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"The Constitution," pledged George Washington, "is the guide which I will never abandon." Can we say the same today?

With the leadership of former Attorney General Edwin Meese, and in conjunction with the nation’s preeminent think tank—The Heritage Foundation—The Heritage Guide to the Constitution brings together more than one hundred of the nation’s best legal experts to provide the first ever line-by-line examination of the of the complete Constitution and its contemporary meaning.

Stressing the original intent of the Framers as the authoritative standard of constitutional interpretation, and never straying from the Constitution and the definitive writings of the Framers—especially the invaluable notes taken at the Constitutional Convention by James Madison, the widely recognized analysis in The Federalist Papers, and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story’s 1833 classic Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States—this volume is unique, comprehensive, and authoritative.

Edited by David Forte and Matthew Spalding, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution is written not only to provide lawmakers and trained jurists with a reliable reference, but also to be explanatory, educational, and accessible to informed citizens and all students of the Constitution.

No document is more central or more important to securing "the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" than the United States Constitution, and no guide to the Constitution is more thorough, more enlightening, or more useful than The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

About the Author

Edwin Meese III served as the 75th Attorney General of the United States under President Reagan. The Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board, he is a distinguished legal expert and holds the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation.

Executive Editor Dr. Matthew Spalding is an expert in and teaches constitutional history, is an Adjunct Fellow of the Claremont Institute, and is the Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Senior Editor Dr. David F. Forte is a widely published legal scholar, a former Chief Counsel to the United States Delegation to the United Nations, and the Charles R. Emrick, Jr.—Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law at Cleveland State University.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 475 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (November 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159698001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596980013
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
177 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! - unique, comprehensive, and authoritative. November 7, 2005
Excellent unbiased scholarship! Provides an authoritative research device for people who want to know what the Constitution says and what the history of the various provisions are. One of the greatest points is that it also includes the court cases and legal articles that explain in more detail the particular provision involved.

This book will be a great tool for legislators, lawyers and judges, and law students. But most importantly - it is terrific for anyone who is interested in understanding what the Constitution actually says. It features a clause-by-clause analysis of the original and contemporary meaning of the Constitution. It can be called the ultimate guide to our beloved Constitution that, in spite of much abuse, still stands head and shoulders above any other document of it's kind in the world. Highly recommended!
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131 of 140 people found the following review helpful
This is a book that should be read in every home in America. We have a written Constitution and the more each of us knows about this document, its origins, history, the debates about its meaning, and the present views about it, the better our public discourse can be and the more we can hold our representatives, Presidents, judges and justices to account.

This book takes the Constitution clause by clause and provides an article that discusses the origin of that clause, what was said about it at the time (if such a record exists), what the courts have said about it over time, and where the current debate rests. Yes, the Heritage Foundation is the sponsoring organization for this book. However, these articles are not simple conservative talking points about each clause. The articles are quite readable but scholarly in providing serious discussion of what this written document has meant, has been held to mean, how it has been ignored, and where the current trends are in our public life.

I think it is essential that we realize that we have a written Constitution and that it is very different than the British Constitution, which is unwritten and changes with the political will of the people and the audacity of their politicians. That movement is represented in our country by those who for the past century or so have been saying that our Constitution is a "living document". No, we have a written document with a mechanism for changing it. That process has been used effectively over time to accommodate society as it changes. To leave it open ended to mean whatever judges and unelected justices impose upon it is to subject ourselves to tyranny and to have a very different government that our founders fashioned for us.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
In an era of American history where Supreme Court Justices sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States cite foreign law, "international public opinion," and any number of random foundations for their erroneous rulings, "The Heritage Guide to the Constitution" offers readers a glimpse into the proper methods for interpreting the Constitution. Written by former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, in conjunction with Constitutional experts Matthew Spalding and David Forte, the book explores the Constitution step-by-step, line-by-line in an attempt to shed light on the true and original intent of the Founding Fathers.

With great emphasis on historical context, "The Heritage Guide to the Constitution" not only examines the text of the world's greatest governmental document, but it also extensively cites the notes and opinions of the Founders, the Federalist papers, time-honored commentaries on the Constitution, and a number of other sources in its efforts to bring the Constitution into the world of today. In so doing, the book proves itself a valuable resource for all Americans who grapple with the great Constitutional questions of our day... Is the Constitution a "living document"? Is it a rigid set of rules? What is the true interpretation of a specific passage? Is the best judicial philosophy one of a strict constructionist nature? Whether or not this book provides you with the answers to those questions, I have no doubt you will finish reading it a more informed and competent citizen, whether layperson or Constitutional scholar. This should be essential reading for every high school student in our nation...
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Gift. November 22, 2005
This is a necessary text for every legislator, and for anyone involved in law, policy, politics, or public affairs. I wish I had this book during my years in law school. It will destroy many assumptions taught in academia, and well illustrates the very weighty issues considered during the framing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is not polemical, but it does inspire, and yet could easily be part of a course syllabus. You will come away with the belief that the Framers came very close to perfection with respect to balancing the issues of liberty, power, freedom, and order. And this is the very root of the problem today: the lack of faith in the vision of which the Framers were possessed. The tension between originalism and textualism is present throughout, and yet the authors do much more than describe contradictions: they offer a vision of jurisprudential traditionalism that could integrate both approaches to combating the "case-law chaos" sown by today's non-Constitutionalist court.

A. Goldman
Lake Mary, Florida
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book for anyone who wants to learn about the U.S....
This is by far the clearest book on the U.S. Constitution I have come across for a long time. It is well researched and has a common sense yet modern commentary on the classic... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Entropy1
5.0 out of 5 stars Constitution Class in a Book
Gives great, in-depth details about each part of the Constitution. Recommended for those who want to know what the Constitution is all about!
Published 1 month ago by Dennis HE Wiggins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book
Many Americans have taken to carrying a copy of the Constitution. No one will want to lug around The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, but the book is an indispensable reference... Read more
Published 3 months ago by James D. Best
3.0 out of 5 stars Gave as a gift
A friend had requested this for Christmas. To be fair I can only give it an average mark as I have not read it myself. She was excited to receive it.
Published 3 months ago by Teresa
4.0 out of 5 stars A good class conversation
We have a monthly Constitution class for anyone in our community who wants to attend. We have been doing this for three years and have yet to finish this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gloria Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Understandable constitution
Covers everything from A to Z. It puts the constitution in lay mans terms and stays objective. I use it as a guide.
Published 5 months ago by Jose Escribano
5.0 out of 5 stars Required book for all Citizens
This is a seminal publication that every student and citizen should read. It should be a required course for Junior/Senior High School students and a basic required course for... Read more
Published 5 months ago by W. Whitehead
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough coverage of the American Constitution
The authors go to considerable pains to explain the background development of the American Constitution. They also cover the various Supreme Court decisions that interpret it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by James M. Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
This book delves into the Constitution on a level I didn't even expect. Such a great read for anyone! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Eric Ray Garon
5.0 out of 5 stars Important
Excellent work and one I needed to start to read. I think it is much like a textbook in that it requires study, but that is exactly why I bought it - for understanding our... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Linda Heinkel
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Topic From this Discussion
When Will We Get a Second Edition?
Why would there need to be a second edition at this point in time? Are there new legal points to be addressed that came up after the publication of the first edition? If the answer is "no" then there won't be a second edition until the answer is "yes".
Oct 29, 2013 by Historian1912 |  See all 3 posts
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