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Whether you’re just now getting introduced to the concept of the Constitution or could simply use a refresher on it’s finer details, U.S. Constitution for Dummies by Dr Michael Arnheim is a fairly well-rounded and objective resource that students from all walks of life can use to get a firmer grip on this important document. There are some personal interpretations that not all readers will agree with, but it is still an overall great tool for understanding the history and general intent of the Constitution, as well as the role it continues to play in both American and international politics. If you would like to be better prepared for taking part in the many arguments surrounding the Constitution today, U.S. Constitution for Dummies not only makes understanding the Constitution easy, but helps readers make connections between the document itself and the many modern issues that surround it.
After a brief introduction that educates readers on the main intent of the book, we get into the first section. This section aims to give us some historical context for the creation of the Constitution. The first chapter, titled “Identifying the Main Principles and Controversies of the Constitution”, starts us off by showing the historical problems that the creation of the Constitution aimed to solve, and then goes on to introduce a few current problems that Arnheim believes the Constitution may be blamed for.
Starting with the very first section and continuing throughout the rest of the book, Arnheim attempts to give us a fairly objective view of the Constitution. This includes both the pros and cons of the Constitution, and all of the many controversies that surround the various interpretations of the Constitution. The main goal of the bulk of this material is to help educate modern readers on the many arguments surrounding the veracity of the Constitution in today’s world. By reading it, then, readers will have a better understanding of these arguments, regardless of whatever side they happen to be on. Although Arnheim’s biases may come through, one can ignore them and focus on the larger picture.
This first section of the book is tied up with an extensive overview of the Constitution itself, granting you a “Bird’s-Eye View of the Constitution”. Following this, there is a little section detailing all of the many ways that the Constitution is able to be amended and interpreted. This issue is examined in both theory and practice, with the writer attempting to remain as objective as possible regarding both the inherent pros and cons of the document.
After the first section, comprised of 5 unique chapters, Arnheim moves on to helping the reader understand how the Constitution is currently applied to the United States government. Once again, he attempts to show the discrepancies that have occurred from the theory behind the Constitution to the practice of it as a tangible document. This largely involves showing how the individual parts of the Constitution are specifically applicable to the various branches of government. As with the first section, Arnheim aims to be neither too positive nor too negative about any specific aspects. Although readers may, once again, disagree with some of what Arnheim posits, the book still presents a wealth of objective information that can help educate readers on some of the many modern issues regarding this historical document’s supposed fallibility.
This book can be very useful in seeing how the practical application of the Constitution led to the America of today. We see how the intentions of the Founding Fathers came together to create the Constitution, a document with many aspects left intentionally up to interpretation. As well, through the juxtaposition of both the intent of the document and the nature of our current reality, Arnheim attempts to show us problem areas where the Constitution could theoretically be improved, or amended.
Getting into the fourth section, we begin to take a look at The Bill of Rights. We look at all of the amendments that were included, as well as how they came into practice after the Constitution was put into place. From there, the next section shows us how the innate ability of the Constitution to be amended by the people has lead to a good deal of progress in the field of human rights. We are taken through all of the amendments that have been added to this day, and then given a brief section detailing landmark Supreme Court cases that have changed the interpretation of the Constitution, as well as some biographies on a few influential Supreme Court Justices.
Dr Michael Arnheim is an international scholar with a unique view of the Constitution. As a resident of the United Kingdom, many readers have felt that Arnheim is not qualified to educate others about the Constitution of the United States. However, his unique vantage point allows readers to become educated about differing global opinions on the Constitution, which can help them hold their own in the many modern arguments that surround it.
At the end of the day, U.S. Constitution for Dummies is simply another solid interpretation of a document that has inspired more interpretations than perhaps any other legal document in history. While you may or may not agree with everything that Arnheim personally puts forward, you will certainly get a better understanding of all of the different points of view that have come into play over the course of it’s interpretation. The more educated you are on the Constitution, the better you’ll be able to form your own conclusions about how this important document should be treated.