United States Constitution

I have long been fascinated by the United States Constitution.  Most Americans take it for granted and do not understand what a remarkable achievement it was for its time.  In 1787, a group of free citizens gathered together to create the founding document—from which their republican government was to spring ex nihilo—that would both frame and limit governmental power.  It doesn’t give us rights, but rather protects the natural rights that each person has before forming a government.

However, the US Constitution wasn’t without controversy and opposition.  Some thought it gave the federal government too much power, others thought it too weak.  There remains the question of whether the assembled Constitutional Convention even had the authority to abandon the Articles of Confederation and write an entirely new Constitution.  James Madison originally fought against the need for a Bill of Rights, but several states refused to ratify the Constitution unless it was added.  He argued that unenumerated individual rights were implied due to the limits on government to infringe them; however, almost 230 years later Americans who value liberty can point to specific Amendments to defend their rights against government intrusion.

Below are favorite books in my personal library that I have read or consulted when studying the US Constitution.

Primary Sources

United States Constitution

Elliot, Jonathan, ed. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution. 1863.

Madison, James. Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787.

Secondary Sources

Basic Interpretation

Arnheim, Michael. U.S. Constitution For Dummies. 2009.

Beeman, Richard. The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution. 2010.

Harper, Timothy. Idiot’s Guides: The U.S. Constitution. 2016.

Lee, Mike. Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document. 2016.

McClanahan, Brion. The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution. 2012.

Advanced Analysis

Amar, Akhil Reed. America’s Constitution: A Biography. 2005.

Amar, Akhil Reed. The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era. 2016.

Barnett, Randy E. Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty. 2003.

Barnett, Randy E. Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People. 2016.

Paulsen, Michael Stokes, ed. Our Constitution: Landmark Interpretations of America’s Governing Document. 2013.

Paulsen, Michael Stokes, and Luke Paulsen. The Constitution: An Introduction. 2015.

Spooner, Lysander. No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. 1867.