Never in history have 1,322 words held out such extraordinary determination to be free as those found in the Declaration of Independence. In 1787, "We the people" were the three words that not only engendered a new and cohesive nation; they went on to change the face of the world as well. In 1791, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, known to us as the Bill of Rights introduced the world to the concept of those singular rights that ought to belong to every free individual. In one compact volume, the full texts of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America with all ratified twenty-seven Amendments to the Constitution are side by side - along with another of America's seminal documents, Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, an additional world-changing statement that codified for the first time that one cannot be required by law to support or prefer any belief or be punished for those one does profess - and the basis for what we have come to know as the "wall of separation" between church and state.
Who we are and what we are free to be as citizens of the United States of America is contained between these covers. Cass R. Sunstein prefaces the volume with a succinct history and interpretation of the place and meaning of both the Declaration and the Constitution in American life. Enhanced by an index and suggestions for further reading, this volume, small in size but overwhelming in the impact of its contents, belongs in the home of every citizen of the United States.
Cass R. Sunstein is Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, Law School and Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. A former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, he is a frequent commentator on television and radio, and author of numerous books on constitutional issues.