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The Preamble as Policy

A Guidebook to Governance and Civic Duty

Robert Irons and Jim Twombly

In The Preamble as Policy: A Guidebook to Governance and Civic Duty the authors show that the Preamble to the Constitution is more than an introduction to the document; it sets the tone for the rest of the document and how it should be viewed and interpreted. It is also a list of goals for a new government and a tool for holding our elected representatives accountable for their efforts on our behalf. The Preamble as Policy looks at the history of the development of the Constitution to show how the Preamble can be used to judge the laws and policies enacted by the federal government. The Preamble as Policy weaves political thought, history, and current events together allowing for examination of an oft forgotten part of the Constitution. It provides a unique framework and firm foundation for class discussions or social interactions about what we have achieved as a nation and where we might have come up short.

“In The Preamble as Policy<\i>, Irons and Twombly find in the Constitution’s Preamble an aspirational guide to America’s potential, even in times wrought with paralyzing polarization and civil unrest. This is a clever, hopeful book that will challenge readers to think critically about the Constitution, likely in ways they haven’t before.” – Joshua J. Dyck, Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell

“When do you start talking about policy? You start at the beginning. That’s what Irons and Twombly have done in Preamble as Policy<\i>: taking students of government and public policy back to the first words of the Constitution. By anchoring an array of contemporary policy challenges in history and the Constitution, from just policing to welfare reform to anti- trust, the authors invite the reader to critically consider the purpose of government in the United States. They do this in under 100 pages, a feat worthy of a big welcome in every syllabus.” – Heath Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Policy, Department of Public Management and CUNY Graduate Center, John Jay College, City University of New York