The United States Constitution

Constitution primer

The US Constitution is one of our most remarkable inventions of all time. A lot of people in other countries think so too. It is a robust self-correcting legal OS. But it was written in an arcane code long ago. To make any sense from it you need some help.

This lively graphic novel adaptation of the Constitution is by far the best aid I’ve found to deciphering its code. It is the comic book version, but rather than dumbing it down, it smartens it up. The graphic novel goes through the Constitution article by article, and explains what each bit means, why it is there, and how it came to be. Like the Bible, the Constitution doesn’t say what you thought it did. I was surprised what was not there as well as what was. I learned tons from this annotation, despite studying it in high school. It renewed my respect for it, and in a way, also makes clear its limitation. I feel I can be a slightly better citizen. Best of all, this book does all that with pictures, which makes it a page-turner.

Recently my brother-in-law, who is an immigrant, had a lot of questions about the Constitution. I handed him this book and he came back very informed. I gave it to my son who would normally have nothing to do with such boring material. But it’s a comic! You’ve always wanted to read it, and should. Here’s the perfect excuse and ideal method.

If you want the unadorned, raw version, get a pocket version. This sturdy shirt-pocket-sized one contains both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I have a few friends who pack this pocket version in their travel bags. Good conversation starter.

-- KK 09/4/09



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