Reading the US Constitution
By David Hartley Mark
There’s a lot of talk going around about how we Americans should read the US Constitution, especially if we happen to be running for the US Presidency, since it involves taking an oath including the words “I swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” It would be both foolish and ludicrous for a person to take that oath to defend something they have never read.
I am certain that most Americans have never read it, and, while we are decrying that same deficit in these high-placed people, we are secretly deeply embarrassed for never having read it ourselves. I took two courses in American History and one in World History in high school, and never once read the Constitution. Let’s face it: it’s pretty dry reading, even for an English Major like me. So I did the usual thing, nowadays: I went online. I managed to find something called “The Annotated US Constitution,” with promised footnotes and notations, but it warned, “This will take several minutes to download,” and I couldn’t sacrifice my computer access for so long.
So I kept looking. Finally, I hit paydirt—thanks, strangely, to the State of Arkansas—which, now that I think of it, happens to be the home state of another presidential candidate—but I swear, this has nothing to do with her. Actually, it’s a fifth-grade-level condensation of the US Constitution, designed specifically for elementary school students, which happens to come from the ARKANSAS BUILDS CITIZENS website. The link is:
It’s only four pages long, and very succinct and to-the-point. I do commend it to you all. Even busy candidates should have no trouble finding time in which to read it.