LESSON 3: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
3.2 Basic Structure of the U.S. Constitution
3.2.1 Length of the U.S. Constitution
Annotated Lecture Transcript
Before you can think about incredibly complicated civil rights actions, you must first conquer all of the tedious fundamentals.
The first thing you need to do when you start studying constitutional law is to read the text of the Constitution itself.
That has to be your starting place.
You’d be surprised how many first-year law students have never even read the Constitution by the time they get to law school.
You probably wouldn’t be surprised by how many of them think the Constitution is some sort of massive document filled with millions of provisions.
In fact, the Constitution isn’t a scary document at all.
It’s actually incredibly short and mostly well organized.
Depending on the formatting of the version you’ve got, the Constitution could be as short as 20 pages or so.
Its total length is only about 7000 words.
I urge you strongly to read through the full text of the Constitution at least once before moving on after this less.
You don’t have to do it right now, but whenever you’ve got a few minutes.
It shouldn’t take you more than an hour.
It’s essential to mastering constitutional law, so you’ll have to do it eventually.
Might as well knock it out tonight before bed, or tomorrow morning on the subway, just to get it out of the way.
There are free audio recordings of the text available from AudioVox or Project Guttenberg.
I’ll put a link to them in the footnotes of this transcript.
A quick review of this simple text will demystify the basic principles of constitutional law.
It’ll show you how few rules there really are.
And hopefully, it’ll eliminate any fears you might have about this most fundamental source of American law.
There are no footnotes for this lesson.