The People’s Constitution: 200 Years, 27 Amendments and the Promise of a More Perfect Union

John F. Kowal and Wilfred U. Codrington III. New Press, $29.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-62097-561-9
Legal scholars Kowal and Codrington debut with a rigorous yet accessible history of how the U.S. constitution has been made “more democratic, more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs of a changing country” through its amendments. They explain that the Framers devised one of the world’s most difficult constitutional amendment processes in order to “lock in” important compromises over slavery, state versus federal sovereignty, and the balance of power between large and small states. Nevertheless, 27 amendments have cleared the high hurdle of two-thirds support in both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states. Kowal and Codrington delve into the forces (controversial court rulings, student protest movements, JFK’s assassination) behind each amendment; profile policy makers including Indiana senator Birch Bayh, the only person besides James Madison to author more than one amendment; and explain why some proposals, including the Equal Rights Amendment and the abolition of the electoral college, have fallen short. Incisive character profiles, brisk historical sketches, and lucid analyses of legal and political matters make this a fresh and invigorating take on the history of American democracy. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2021
Release date: 01/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-62097-562-6
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