Dr. Joseph Smith “The US Constitution in 5 Minutes”

The US Constitution in 5 Minutes

Dr. Joseph Smith (University of Alabama)

Book published on April 13, 2023


The U.S. Constitution was written more than 230 years ago for a new country on the periphery of the world. Two centuries later, it governs the most powerful nation on earth, and its meaning is constantly debated.

The U.S. Constitution in Five Minutes presents fifty-nine essays on subjects central to the meaning and application of the U.S. Constitution. Written by scholars, these essays cover origins; institutions, processes, and structural features; civil rights and liberties; and modes of interpretation and address common questions and misunderstandings about the Constitution, such as:

• Can the president start a war?

• Does the Constitution protect hate speech?

• Does the Second Amendment give everyone the right to have a gun?

• Does the Constitution protect noncitizens?

• How can we tell what the Constitution means?

Intended for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of the U.S. political system, the book will also be a valuable supplement to political science courses. As with all the “Five Minutes” books, the essays are written in lively and accessible prose and are brief enough to be read in five minutes.