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America’s Unwritten Constitution by Akhil Reed Amar

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CHAPTER 6

HONORING THE ICONS

America’s Symbolic Constitution

Less than a fortnight after posing for this photograph, Lincoln delivered a short speech commemorating the battlefield at Gettysburg.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (NOVEMBER 8, 1963).

Less than a fortnight after posing for this photograph, Lincoln delivered a short speech commemorating the battlefield at Gettysburg.

IN A POLYGLOT NATION OF MANY FAITHS, ethnicities, and ideologies, the Constitution stands as a uniquely unifying American symbol—a New World republican version of England’s Queen Elizabeth, of India’s Taj Mahal. But several other iconic texts epitomizing The American Way have also helped to bind Americans together and make us a distinct people with a particular national narrative. These canonical texts have won a special ...

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