Essentials of the American Constitution examines five closely integrated components that make up the fundamental law: the compact, separation of powers, federalism, representation, and the Bill of Rights. The interaction among these components gives the constitution its dynamism. Landmark decisions handed down by the Supreme Court involve two or more of them.

The book’s unique approach shows how these components often work together, assisting, explaining, or reinforcing one another. Author Charles H. Sheldon provides an overview of the fundamental principles of the American Constitution and gives a firm foundation for readers interested in American government and politics, constitutional law, or civil liberties.

A member of Washington State University’s faculty from 1970 to 1997, Sheldon was the Claudius O. and Mary W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Political Science. He died September 13, 1999. Stephen L. Wasby, professor emeritus of political science at SUNY Albany, edited the book.


Charles H. Sheldon. Essentials of the American Constitution. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999