Download American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution by Garrett Epps PDF

By Garrett Epps

ISBN-10: 0199974748

ISBN-13: 9780199974740

In 1987, E.L. Doctorow celebrated the Constitution's bicentennial by way of analyzing it. "It is 5 thousand phrases lengthy yet reads like fifty thousand," he stated. uncommon criminal student Garrett Epps--himself an award-winning novelist--disagrees. it really is approximately 7,500 phrases. And Doctorow "missed a great deal of excessive rhetoric, many literary tropes, or even a hint of, if no longer wit, a minimum of irony," he writes. american citizens may well venerate the structure, "but all too seldom is it read."

In American Epic, Epps takes us via a whole analyzing of the Constitution--even the "boring" parts--to in attaining an appreciation of its strength and a holistic knowing of what it says. during this ebook he seeks to not offer a definitive interpretation, yet to hear the language and contemplate its which means. He attracts on 4 modes of interpreting: scriptural, criminal, lyric, and epic. The Constitution's first 3 phrases, for instance, sound spiritual--but Epps reveals them to be extra aspirational than prayer-like. "Prayers are addressed to anyone . . . both a mundane king or a divine lord, and nice care is taken to call the addressee. . . . This does the opposite. The speaker is 'the people,' the phrases addressed to the realm at large." He turns the second one modification right into a poem to light up its ambiguity. He notices oddities and omissions. The structure lays out principles for presidential appointment of officials, for instance, yet now not elimination. may still the Senate approve every one firing? Can it withdraw its "advice and consent" and strength a resignation? And he demanding situations himself, as noticeable in his extraordinary dialogue of the security of Marriage Act (DOMA) in gentle of Article four, which orders states to provide "full religion and credits" to the acts of alternative states.

Wry, unique, and astounding, American Epic is a scholarly and literary journey de strength.

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Extra resources for American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution

Sample text

We the people” show no disposition to disturb this state of affairs. In fact, it is not just the Preamble but the entire Constitution of 1787 that is silent on the subject. Human equality as an explicit concept will not appear in the document until 1868, eight decades after the Federal Convention.  . ” But taken separately, the words have different connotations. “Ordination” is sacerdotal; priests and rabbis enter into their sacred functions by way of ordination. The Christian sacrament of ordination for many believers even today refers to a physical touch that brings in an unbroken chain the authority of Christ’s own Apostles.

Often we don’t even remember the occasion—was it a birthday, a wedding? What we remember are smiling faces, warmth, and the feeling of belonging. There are two problems with these words. First, the Constitution may not be in fact our party; and, second, in this context, both the occasion and the speeches matter as much as the glow of fellowship. The claim that “we” wrote the document is false. Someone has written a Constitution, and done so for specific reasons. We need to understand both hosts and occasion.

The reason is obvious—the vice president, as president of the Senate, would otherwise be in charge of a proceeding that might let him take the president’s place. So since the chief justice presides only when the president is a defendant, clearly others may be impeached—exactly who is laid out later in the Constitution. Section Four. ” Congress has since set one uniform day for congressional elections around the country. As long as state legislatures elected senators, however, the Constitution prohibited Congress from specifying when legislatures must meet to choose new ones.

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