Should You Read U.S. Constitution for Dummies?

US Constitution For Dummies

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. However, it is still an overall great tool for understanding the history, general intent, and role of the Constitution in politics today.

U.S. Constitution for Dummies not only makes understanding the United States Constitution easy but also helps readers make connections between the document itself and the many modern issues surrounding it.

Introduction to the History and the Context of the Constitution

After a brief introduction that educates readers on the book’s main intent, we get into the first section. This section aims to give us some historical context for the creation of the Constitution such as the Constitutional Convention and delegates such as Founding Father James Madison and George Washington.

james madison portrait
Barack Obama looking at a portrait of James Madison in the Blue Room.

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.

It goes on to introduce a few current problems that Arnheim believes the Constitution may have caused and their ongoing debates.

Arnheim Aims to Guide You Through the “Confusion and Controversy” That Often Follow the Constitution

Starting with the first section and continuing throughout the rest of the book, Arnheim attempts to give us a fairly objective view of the United States Constitution.

Independence Hall
The United States Constitution was signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The main goal of the bulk of this material is to help educate modern readers on the many arguments surrounding the integrity of the American 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 focus on the larger picture.

Understanding the Constitution and how it can be changed

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.” 

Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell at Independence Hall.

Following this, there is a concise section detailing the many ways the Constitution’s amendment process and how it can be interpreted.

This issue is examined in both theory and practice, with the writer attempting to remain as objective as possible regarding the document’s inherent pros and cons.

Understanding How the Constitution Applies to Modern Government

After the first section, comprised of 5 unique chapters, Arnheim moves on to help the reader understand how the Constitution is currently applied to the United States government.

congress building
United States Congress.

Once again, he attempts to show the discrepancies that have occurred from the theory behind the Constitution to its practice as a tangible document. 

This largely involves showing how the individual parts of the Constitution are specifically applicable to the various branches of federal government.

The book presents a wealth of objective information that can help educate readers on some of the many modern constitutional issues regarding this historical document’s supposed fallibility.

Seeing How the Constitution Led to the America of Today

This book can be very useful in seeing how the Constitution’s practical application led to today’s America. 

anti-gun protest
The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution remains controversial in modern America.

We see how the Founding Fathers‘ intentions came together to create the Constitution. Also, the construction of a document with many aspects left intentionally up to interpretation. 

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 an amendment made.

Understanding How the Constitution Has Grown

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. 

Photo of United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act.
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The next section shows us how the innate ability of the Constitution to be amended by the people has led to a good deal of progress in the field of civil rights.

Finally, there is a brief section detailing landmark Supreme Court cases that have changed the interpretation of the Constitution and some biographies of a few influential Supreme Court Justices in the judicial branch.

Getting to Know the Author

Dr. Michael Arnheim is an international scholar with a unique view of the Constitution. 

Union Jack over Westminster
Dr. Michael Arnheim was born in South Africa to German parents and went on to practice as a barrister in London.

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 and its role in American history

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 surrounding constitutional issues.

Whether You’re a Dummy Or Not, This Is an Interesting Read

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 world history

While you may or may not agree with everything that Arnheim personally puts forward, you shall certainly get a better understanding of all of the different points of view that have come into play.

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.

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