If We Love the Constitution So Much, Why Do We Keep Trying to Change It?
Richard B. Bernstein with Jerome Agel
Even as we marvel at the grandeur of our constitutional system, we can't resist tinkering with it. Amending America tells the dramatic story of how, over the past 206 years, the American people have reshaped the Constitution to meet the country's changing needs. It describes how we have adopted 27 amendments since 1789-and debated and rejected 10,000 more.
A provocative examination of one of America's most important yet least-known democratic tools, Amending America brings to life events in our history that continue to resonate today as, as various politicians have set their hearts on amendments to balance the budget, to ban abortion, or to allow school prayer.
“A skillfully rendered, comprehensive, and engaging study of Article V's procedures for amending the Constitution.”
“Instructive and fascinating. The book is thorough, erudite, and packed with the anecdotes that make our political past so enjoyable to review.”
—Minneapolis Star TribuneSee all reviews...
“An intelligent, carefully researched, and highly readable account.”
“The authors have made our country's charter the centerpiece of a suspenseful and still-unfolding national adventure.”
—Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star
“An anecdotal guide to the debates and conflicts over each amendment.”
“A thoughtful history of the amendments of the Constitution and an excellent delineation of issues debated by modern constitutional scholars.”
“An excellent work about an often-ignored issue. Recommended for all libraries.”
“A fresh and reassuring picture of a living, flexible document strong enough to accept constant challenge and occasional change. The amending process, used wisely, helps meet the needs of an evolving nation. This is an unusual survey of this always-timely process.”
—Anniston (Alabama) Star
“A wonderful book. . . . A magnificent treasure trove of American history.”
—Arthur R. Miller, Bruce Bromley Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
“Admirably illuminates the complex and remarkable history of the American people's repeated attempts to amend the Constitution, and captures that history's enduring significance.”
—William E. Nelson, author of The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine
“Will amply repay its readers. Scholars of American constitutional development should find the book a useful addition to their shelves; general readers should find it an interesting and enjoyable way to learn about some often overlooked aspects of American history.”
—Sanford Levinson, History Book Club News
“Invaluable for just about anybody seeking to understand the contradictions of our approach to constitutional government.”
—Herbert S. Parmet, author of Richard Nixon and His America
“For a book with such a weighty subject, Amending America is surprisingly entertaining and humorous.”
—Alan Mass in the New York Law JournalSee fewer reviews...