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An in-depth look at the defining document of America

Want to make sense of the U.S. Constitution? This plain-English guide walks you through this revered document, explaining how the articles and amendments came to be and how they have guided legislators, judges, and presidents and sparked ongoing debates. You'll understand all the big issues — from separation of church and state to impeachment to civil rights — that continue to affect Americans' daily lives.

  • Get started with Constitution basics — explore the main concepts and their origins, the different approaches to interpretation, and how the document has changed over the past 200+ years
  • Know who has the power — see how the public, the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court share in the ruling of America

  • Balance the branches of government — discover what it means to be Commander in Chief, the functions of the House and Senate, and how Supreme Court justices are appointed

  • Break down the Bill of Rights — from freedom of religion to the prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments," understand what the first ten amendments mean

  • Make sense of the modifications — see how amendments have reformed presidential elections, abolished slavery, given voting rights to women, and more

Open the book and find:

  • The text of the Constitution and its ammendments
  • Discussion of controversial issues including the death penalty, abortion, and gay marriage

  • Why the word "democracy" doesn't appear in the Constitution

  • What the Electoral College is and how it elects a President

  • Details on recent Supreme Court decisions

  • The Founding Fathers' intentions for balancing power in Washington

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