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The Heritage Guide to the Constitution Hardcover – November 7, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1596980013 ISBN-10: 159698001X Edition: 0th

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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 (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 89 customer reviews
Great breakdown of our founding documents.
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution This is a very useful reference book that helps the layman understand the Constitution.
I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in constitutional law and history.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 186 people found the following review helpful By Theodore Verde on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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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130 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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 By Britt Gillette on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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 By Adam Goldman on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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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