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For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights Paperback – August 13, 1999
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About the Author
Akhil Reed Amar is Southmayd Professor of Law at the Yale Law School. He received his BA, summa cum laude, from Yale College, and his JD from Yale Law School. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Paul Bator award from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and an honorary doctorate of law (LLD) from Suffolk University.
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I was less convinced of their argument when they began to address the Framers original intent. The authors claim that the perspective offered in this book (I will not go into an explanation of the thesis here) is the same as the Framers' original intent. However, they DO NOT quote many Framers in the book. They quote Thomas Jefferson quite bit, but he was not actually involved in creating the Constitution. They quote De Tocqueville, but he was neither framer nor a American.
These stood out to me because there is such a wealth of primary sources from the actually Framers, between Madison's notes, the Federalist papers, and personal letters. I am not aware of any primary source that specifically supports the idea that the original intent of the Framers aligned with this book's claims.
That being said, it is a very interesting read that will make you rethink how we view the Constitution TODAY, even if it fails to fully support the Framers' intent in 1787.
The authors write in the introduction that the scheme of the Constitution is actually more populist than libertarian. They examine the Constitution as a tapestry rather than individual portions.
The authors argue citizens have sovereignty, not government when addressing the topic of "sovereign immunity."
The main point of this book is that the Constitution belongs to the citizens and that there are some facets of that document that you don't often read about.
On page 7 they write " All exercise of authority must derive from us."
One of the more intriguing subjects relates to amending the Constitution- the popular amendment to be specific. The authors make the case that a national referendum is a legitimate alternative.
For an unfamiliar, thought-provoking book on Constitutional rights, responsibilities, and it's history I recommend FOR THE PEOPLE.