The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
Anti Federalist Papers.
Democracy In America.
It used to be this question didn't even need asking.
I 2nd all 3.
It's more modern, but I heartily recommend Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions. It's not specifically about the U.S. constitution, but if you're looking to contrast it with the notion of a living document, then this is the book for you since the two different interpretations are driven by very different mindsets.
Geek: Don't be too hard on the person asking. At least they ARE asking the question, instead of basking in ignorance.
In terms of the history of the making of the Constitution I doubt nothing can beat Plain and Honest Men. This book, which I just finished, essentially goes through the day-by-day events of the summer of 1787 in the Philadelphia and nearly line-by-line of the various drafts and proposals of the Constitution.
It is a good book if you like history. But it doesn't have a whole lot to contribute to present day politics. If they are looking for a "original intent" versus "living document" debate they won't find it here.
Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution delves into Constitutional history and philosophy. Napolitano's The Constitution in Exile (which I haven't read, I hasten to point out) also appears to cover that ground. Madison's Notes of Debates or Justice Story's Commentaries on the Constitution could also be useful. And it's hard to go wrong with gwa.45's suggestions either.
Restoring the Lost Constitution is a college-level textbook. It is NOT in any way, shape or form a light read.
I wondered about that, but it didn't specify as to whether the writer was college-age or not (and it's hard to tell, the way people write nowadays).
2nd the Geekwitha 45.
"Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States". Assembled by the "Government Printing Office", 1927. (Original price was $2.85. Current equivalent in gold would be $181)
Was reprinted by "Spencer Judd, Publishers" in 1984.
Amoung other things, it contains:
Notes of Rufus King in the Federal Convention of 1787.
Notes of William Paterson in the Federal Convention of 1787.
Notes of Alexander hamilton in the Federal Convention of 1787.
Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 as reported by James Madison.
Original prints can be had for as little as $8 including shipping: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0006D8RNS/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&qid=1285989031&sr=8-13&condition=used
A note on "Documents Illustrative": It's 1100+ pages, with an index. Other than the index, all are "primary source" founding era documents.
"The Founder's Second Amendment" which is realy about the entire Bill of Rights and why people thought it was needed.
I can't help wondering what Mark's answer would be.
"Das Kapital"? :neener:
Actually, I doubt he'd recommend something that obvious.
Without question read "God of the Machine" by Patterson. The best one on the philosophy of our government.
No Treason, by Lysander Spooner.
Read those then get back to us on the third.
hmm, Obama's speeches during his election campaign come to mind. Where he claims more than once that he considers the constitution to be a minor stumbling block to be removed or ignored as needed to implement his agenda.
I've heard several references to Barry's having been a Constitutional Law instructor/scholar.
To my mind, I keep coming back to Johnah Goldberg's Liberal Facism.
Just because you've studied a subject, even written a book/taught a class on it, does not mean you approve of the subject.
The difference is that Goldberg is upfront in his disdain for his subject.
You've got to understand something about the legal profession.
In order to teach - all you have to have done is graduated. Most schools require that the teacher be "one degree up", ie, a masters to teach college-level, or a phd to teach masters level.
But I know several lawyers who had accepted jobs to teach - before they'd even graduated.
That's the situation Barry was in, and he could have been teaching contract law, or torts or anything else.
It's more telling the projection that Obama supporters make with his lecturing, without considering their arguments.
I was the one asking the question and I appreciate the imput and recommendations.
It is for my college history class.I am 43 and lost my job back in Feb. and I am going back to school to better my chances of finding a new one.
While I have always had an interest in history most of my knowledge of Goverment and the Constitution, until recently, was limited to what I learned watching Schoolhouse Rock on Sat. mornings. When I found the 2nd amendment blogs on the internet and by extension the goverment and constitutional blogs such as The Smallest Minority a couple of years ago,well I won't say my eyes were opened but it did express in words the things I was feeling but did'nt know exactly how to articultate and things, to my embarrassment, I hadn't really thought about much .I somtimes have alot of trouble expressing my thoughts and ideas in a coherant manner when writing and was looking for reccomendations that could help me with that issue.
Did this help?
This doesn't appear to be responsive to your question, but I believe it really is:
PAUL REVERE'S RIDE by David Hackett Fisher
It explains, though not directly, why several things in our Constitution got there.
"The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution" by W. Cleon Skousen
Some blogreaders will give it a knee-jerk rejection based on Skousen's religion (Mormon) and the fact that most of his other books are Bible-oriented. That's called argumentum ad hominem. Look it up.