THE CONSTITUTION:  An Introduction

by Michael Stokes Paulsen and Luke Paulsen

The definitive guide to the history of - and debates over - the US Constitution, equipping readers to think for themselves about this vital American document.


The Constitution: An Introduction is the definitive modern primer on the US Constitution.  Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation’s most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and lay scholar, have combined to write a clear, accessible, lively introduction to the history and meaning of this historic document.


Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, history and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped this founding instrument in the 200-plus years since its creation.  


A lucid history of and guide to this foundational American document, The Constitution: An Introduction provides readers with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues—a skill that is ever more essential to the continued flourishing of American democracy.  



ISBN: 978-0-465-05372-8 • eBook ISBN: 978-0-465-05371-1

Pub Date: May 5th, 2015

Page count: 352pp

Publisher: Basic Books, NY



"The Constitution: An Introduction is quite simply the best general short introduction to the Constitution ever written. Readers looking for a brisk, even-handed, smart, engaging introduction to the Constitution should look no further. This is it.”

- Akhil Reed Amar, Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University, Author of America’s Constitution: A Biography



"A sharp, efficient guide to the creation, content, and construction of the supreme law of the land. ...[A] compressed, evenhanded history of the Constitution’s interpretation and the ongoing struggle to wrestle meaning from the words at the heart of our democracy. No important case goes unmentioned, no significant crisis or controversy unexplored. … The Paulsens accomplish precisely what they set out to do.  A well-conceived, well-executed primer.

- Kirkus Starred Review


“Mike Paulsen is one of the most brilliant, respected constitutional scholars of our era. His son, Luke, matches him stride for stride, as a serious lay student of the Constitution and its history.  Together, they have produced a truly spectacular book – perhaps the best, single-volume treatment of the Constitution ever written.” 

- Guy-Uriel Charles, Professor of Law, Duke Law School



“This wonderful work is the best introduction to the United States Constitution available.” 

- Stephen B. Presser, Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law, Author of Recapturing the Constitution



“This book is a must read for anyone trying to learn about the U.S. Constitution.”

- Steven G. Calabresi, Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law



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