Story of the Constitution

Story of the Constitution

by Sol Bloom, Lars Johnson
2nd Edition, ©2001, Publisher Catalog #CLP79985
Trade Paperback, 301 pages
Current Retail Price: $17.00
Not in stock

See series description for full review.

This book is now out of print. The publisher has replaced it with the updated, full-color edition now titled Foundation for Freedom.

The Story of the Constitution is a fairly unique United States government text. It tells the story (in a surprisingly engaging way) of the origins, purpose, and nature of our nation's most important document. This isn't a full government text—it focuses exclusively on those aspects of the U.S. government defined and affected by the Constitution. The CLP text The Land of Fair Play is a companion U.S. government text that fills in many gaps.

How Does This Work?

This is an eighth grade text. You could use it for older students, though we would suggest not for younger ones. The book is sparsely illustrated with black and white drawings. Fifteen chapters discuss the conditions that led to the fight for American independence, the drafting of the Constitution, and the ratification process. Each article is covered in detail, as are the Bill of Rights and early Constitutional amendments. Kids get an intimate sense of the value, complexity and novelty of the government our Founding Fathers set up.

The text is fairly readable, though there is a lot of it and sometimes it seems dry and stilted. Besides Sol Bloom and Lars Johnson's text, students end up reading the entire Constitution, which can even be a chore for adults. At the end of each chapter there are several review exercises which basically amount to quizzes—there is matching, true/false, and essay questions.

Supplementary materials include a test packet and a teacher's manual. There is also a CD-ROM available from Alpha Omega. The teacher's manual includes answers to all tests and in-text questions. It also includes a semester schedule and supplemental quizzes to help students study for tests and which can be administered orally.

Our Honest Opinion:

This is one of the most focused texts concerning the U.S. Constitution we carry. It is best used in conjunction with The Land of Fair Play, though getting through both in one year may be tricky. You will certainly want to supplement your child's U.S. government instruction that is broader in scope, either simultaneously or at a later date. If you do study The Land of Fair Play we suggest you do so after The Story of the Constitution, not before (even though the publisher suggests the opposite). You may also want to supplement with a good economics text (we recommend Economics in One Lesson).

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  A Thorough Study of Our Oft-neglected Constitution
TammyA of Oregon, 7/17/2010
"The Story of the Constitution" is not meant to be a full government course, however it does mean to study the founding document of our American government from a Christian perspective, and that it does well.

In its coverage of the Constitution, however, it does end up covering a lot of how our American system of government works--and naturally so.

To some it is a novel concept--study the document that our government is based upon--THE document that defines our form of government. It is a pity many of our elected officials seem to have neglected such a similar study. Because of that fact, I recommend every American citizen take time to understand the Constitution--and this book makes that achievable.

This is a necessary book to study for those who would like to go onto law, politics, and other such fields. It is also an excellent book to study for those who desire to effectively argue points of federal government policy. (Team policy debate is an excellent way to put these newly learned government concepts into real life application as well as Oregon's TeenPact.)

If "The Story of the Constitution" is used in the context of a greater study of government, I recommend supplementing with either Pretisin's "Government 101" for a quick federal government overview and/or CLP's "Land of Fair Play" to fill in state and local government topics and federal bureaucracies.

The serious government student should move on to "Basic American Government" by Clarence Carson either in whole or in portion to fill in gaps. Between Carson, "Land of Fair Play" and "The Story of the Constitution," a lot of federal government, including supreme court decisions, is covered such that a student should be able to go on to the American Government CLEP successfully. (I recommend getting the Research & Education Association's CLEP guide for American Government to see what final gaps may need to be filled for that college credit test.)