Tuesday, July 4, 2017

#185 / Enlightenment Available - In Print Only

Pictured is Garry Wills. Wills is an American author, journalist, and historian who specializes in American history, politics, and religion. Wills won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1993. 

The New York Times Magazine has published an excellent essay on the Constitution, written by Wills and entitled, "Child Of The Enlightenment." Wills' essay is accompanied by an annotated edition of the entire Constitution, including the amendments. It was all on one page! 

That one-page version of the Constitution, annotated and with amendments, and including Wills' essay, measures 22 inches by 48 inches. I can't give you a link. A mammoth piece of paper like that doesn't translate well to online viewing. It is available in "print only." I got my copy with my home-delivered copy of The New York Times on Sunday, July 2nd. 

While I can't take you directly online to the annotated Constitution and its accompanying essay, I can link you to an online resource that will give you a glimpse of this mammoth, in-print publication. That link is to a blog called Used Books In Class. Just click right here for a discussion of the Wills' essay and the annotated Constitution

This excerpt gives the flavor: 

Wills considers what he calls the “myth” of the checks and balances built into the Constitution, suggesting that James Madison was not so much wanting to encourage “competing interests," but to arrive at a "disinterested" view of a common purpose, what Enlightenment philosophers call "virtue" – or public spiritedness. Wills argues that such virtue was - and still is - the key component of all government. 
Finally, at the the bottom of Wills’ prologue, there is a timeline marking several Constitutional milestones, beginning with its origins in Ancient Greece and ending with today. 
Taken as a whole, the special section this Sunday eliminates the need for civics textbooks, which I have often suggested are dated. We both know that students are more motivated when they respond to the issues being discussed today. 
This four page spread of newsprint is an entire civics course...you just have to get a copy! (or you can borrow mine).

The Used Books In Class blog is worth looking at on its own, particularly for teachers. The blog announces that its purpose is to "discuss the inclusion of specific used book titles in English/language arts classrooms, as well as to discuss how we are working to improve reading in and out of the classroom at every grade level. Used Books In Class is also about using books in class to improve reading!" 

Who writes that Used Books In Class blog? It's a bit difficult to guess, since the "About Me" section of the sidebar is completely blank, but after doing a little sleuthing, I'm betting that the author is Colette M. Bennett

At any rate (teachers and others), now that you know about the Wills' essay and about the annotated, one-page version of the Constitution, you can start trying to track down your own printed version. You really ought to do it! Unfortunately, despite her nice offer, I don't think Colette Bennet is going to be able to loan out her copy to the number of people who are going to want to read it. At least I hope not, because I hope a LOT of people are going to track down this special publication from The New York Times Magazine

Consider that your patriotic assignment on this Fourth of July holiday!

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