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The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  17,208 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
The Declaration of Independence was the promise of a representative government; the Constitution was the fulfillment of that promise.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued a unanimous declaration: the thirteen North American colonies would be the thirteen United States of America, free and independent of Great Britain. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Decl
Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 1st 1998 by Bantam Classics (first published 1776)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What do I need to say? Read them, understand them, and give thanks.

Also let me recommend, treasure, protect, and pray we keep them, unbroken.

Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During South by Southwest 2003, I saw a movie called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The movie is about President Chavez in Venezuela and the failed coup attempt on his presidency. In the background coverage of his presidency, the filmmakers recounted how as President, he encouraged his citizens to read their brand new constitution and learn it. They interviewed some Venezuelans who did not know to read, but had learned to read by reading their constitution.[return][return]I was touched by ...more
DJ Harris
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone

It is nearly impossible to review such an important historical work. In my opinion this is one of the most important documents in history.

The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States by Thomas Jefferson
Oct 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Nick by: Everybody
Everyone including me has read this repeatedly for school. So I knew this would be bad, but I didn't know how bad until I went through it underlining everything negative and circling everything positive. Why the Cato institute publishes this, and why it is handed out at libertarian events completely escapes me.

I will omit things too minor to note. Asterisks rank importance.

Lets skip the declaration since its meh. Its way better than the constitution though. I'll just note that the consent of the
Dustin Cleveland
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I should confess that I am putting this copy up only to mean that I have read the Declaration and the Constitution themselves, and have copies on my bookshelf. I have not actually read this book with this particular foreword.

Sorry that that isn't really a review. These foundational documents are immortal, and important beyond description. Every American should read these documents, simply so that they may know what it does and does not say.
Jeff Walden
What's to say? It's the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, in their original forms. The only adjustment is that portions of the Constitution and amendments changed by subsequent amendments are bracketed and footnoted to indicate which amendment changed them. (So, for example, the Eighteenth Amendment [instituting Prohibition] is bracketed and noted as repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment. Have you ever noticed the alcoholic beverage ...more
David L
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only the foundation of our daily lives, the lives of our grandparents and our great grandchildren.

Its worth reading. Try to find the place where certain classes of people are not protected. Go on, it's fun. Check those Beautiful Amendments out. How bout that - who do they apply to? Citizens, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants?

The plot twist in the 2nd Amendment is riviting. I don't want to be a spoiler but the part about a Well regulated Militia being necessary - WOW!!!

Quiz to follow.

PS - Wh
Mario García
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Essential reading for any sentient being capable of -actual- reading. The development of the American empire affects most of the world. Yet, it was almost a provision of American thinkers not to fight tyranny itself but rather fight a small portion of the tyrants before becoming as such.

It is almost an historical contradiction that some years later United States of America found itself fighting terror, instead of a single terrorist. If History is not read correctly (about who is who and what is
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't face the future if you don't know the past.
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: 2010-and-before
I keep this in my purse, just in case someone wants to read me my rights..."no thanks, I've got my own copy" ;-P
I feel like rating or reviewing the Constitution is asking for trouble, so... I read it.
Juergen John Roscher
Review on "The Declaration of Independence"
Dates Read: 8-Nov- 2010 and 28-Jan-2011

I read “The Declaration of Independence” in an attempt to better understand the principles on which the United States was founded. I feel a need to be educated about its history and founding fathers philosophies to counter attack many of the revisionists that promote ideological based and at times plain un-American interpretations of America’s history and founding documents. There is no better source of understand
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Christopher by: Nobody
Reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States gives one an appreciation for just how forward thinking and far ahead of their time the founding fathers were. Or it should anyway. The establishment of the various checks and balances put forward in these documents, specifically the Constitution, is nothing short of brilliant. That said, it also drives home the point that, in spite of the genius entailed in these documents, they are imperfect. The founding fathers ...more
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I would have given our founding documents a five-star review, except that the Founding Fathers left that tiny bit about slavery ("all other persons"; "that peculiar institution") in the Constitution. Despite today's conservative politicians exalting the Founding Fathers to the status of demigods, the fact that they gave in and compromised to keep slavery instead of standing by their principles to end the institution once and for all shows they were, in fact, mortal after all--they gave in to bot ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Essential reading for any American. So many who use the words "unconstitutional" to support their agendas have never actually read the document, but get their understanding from other people who have never read it. Read it yourself. That rating should be 4.5 stars if Goodreads would allow it, which would include a perfect 5-star rating for the Declaration of Independence and most of the Constitution, with a slight deduction for the ruinous experiment of outlawing liquor (thankfully repealed) and ...more
Happy Independence Day!

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection betwee
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm torn between 4 and 5. This was a brilliant concept to play with, but I felt sort of bereft upon finishing, like the story wasn't complete. I also thought a lot of issues were brought up and then addressed sort of prefunctorily, like slavery and stuff--it was like, oh yeah, I forgot that part of the story, I'll finish it up really quick and then move on...but I didn't get much of a sense of resolution. SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank god I have health insurance, because I think I just punctured my ch
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
This is a beautiful document that to the casual reader can make a tedious read.

Read about the background and the significance of these documents and compare them to your present circumstances and you will grow to love them.

I seriously recommend comparing the actions of the present president with the trespasses of George in the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution is fascinating once you start reading about the Convention and our present circumstances.
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
Ok, holy shit, one day I subbed for Crystal and I had to try to teach this to the kids...that is a challenge I didn't even know how to approach. Props to history teachers that can actually translate this important document and have their students actually care and understand how this impacts their lives.
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It holds us to a higher standard, I've been ready it more lately as America steers further from it. My mom and I decided to make it a tradition to read it at least once a year in celebration of the fourth, as well as any time a law is passed that goes against it.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Maier gives a good introduction to the development of these documents. It not only sets them in their historical context it also discusses their relationship to each other. Politicians are always asking each other if they have read the constitution. This book is a good way to do just that.
Leonardo Campos-moya
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I downloaded the free version for my kindle, and I was impressed with how radical it really was. The notions that people can overthrow a government that no longer serves them and that they have inalienable rights are very progressive. It is essential reading for anyone, and not just Americans.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read it in under an hour. I wonder if Donald J. Trump can say the same!?
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After reading through this today with my kids we had a wonderful discussion on freedoms, tyranny, and our many many blessings. How blessed we are to live in a time when we do not have a tyrant king. I am so thankful for this document and that it has been preserved all this time. If only we will read and study it and the constitution we will be so much better off.
P.H. Wilson
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Real rating: 5.9/10
It is a legal document, which means it is not stellar reading. One feels that like the bible most people are quoting the quotable aspects and never reading the source material. If one is American, one is apt to romanticise the document and ignore some of the less progressive or racist remarks within the two documents in exchange for a memory of what was forcibly pushed on them in school. A must read it is not, its importance is grand, but one need not put it on their bucket li
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a must text for every American to become ever so familiar with. You cannot stop reading it and I would strongly suggest you begin to develop a library on the Constitution. Although it seems to be a rather simple document you will miss so much of the true meaning of this document. The Federalist papers along with the Anti-federalist papers are also a must. Should you choose to develop a Constitutional Library I would caution you on the texts as many are written by liberals who will do all ...more
Jake Leech
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Obviously I'm not going to give the Declaration and Constitution less than a five-star rating.

I decided to read this because it's one of those books people are always talking about, but very few people have actually sat down and read. Actually, I don't know if that's true, because I don't know if Americans read it in some grade school civics class. Anyway, I hadn't read it, so I decided to. This particular edition is pretty nice. There's a concise description of events and reasons leading to the
Deanna Against Censorship
NO matter how many times I read these documents or bring them to the attention of others, I am overwhelmed by our forefathers intelligence, courage and vision. A model for the world. It is important that we review these documents regularly. Remember Separation of Church and State is one of the major reasons that the USA has remained strong. Once religion is mixed with government than there is discrimination. If there is one religion than those who believe in another or none are considered wrong.
Tony Fidanza
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
The ***** is for "The Declaration of Independence" an admirable document that paraphrases John Locke's "Two Treatises of Government" and improves on it. The US Constitution rates ****. It was a compromise document that had to be amended 27 times (to date). I docked it one star due to the fact that it permitted slavery in the states (the price of the South joining the Union) thus paving the way to Civil War. Otherwise it was an important early experiment in representative government.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've read both of these in the past, but I don't think I've added them to my Goodreads. Since the Constitution was included in the appendix of Daniel Okrent's excellent history of Prohibition, which I just finished reading, I figured now would be a good time to add these foundational documents.

If you liked this, make sure to follow me on Goodreads for more reviews!
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The History Book ...: DECLARATION OF RIGHTS 62 61 Oct 24, 2009 08:46PM  
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • I Have a Dream / Letter from Birmingham Jail
  • Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates (Signet Classics)
  • The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom
  • Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
  • The Constitution of the United States of America and Selected Writings of the Founding Fathers.
  • Second Treatise of Government
  • The Proper Role of Government
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
  • America's Constitution: A Biography
  • Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts
  • Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
  • The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution
  • The Black Book
  • The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History 1775-1865
  • In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the American Century
The term Founding Fathers of the United States of America refers broadly to the individuals of the Thirteen British Colonies in North America who led the American Revolution against the authority of the British Crown and established the United States of America. It is also used more narrowly, referring specifically to those who either signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 or who were dele ...more
More about Founding Fathers...

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“Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates in all future periods of this commonwealth to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them, especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings, sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people. ” 12 likes
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” 4 likes
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