The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation

Charles Moss

Before Obama is sworn in as the next U.S. President in January, let Hennessey and McConnell’s The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation be your refresher course.

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation

Publisher: Hill & Wang
ISBN: 978-0-8090-94
Contributors: Artist: Aaron McConnell
Price: $16.95
Writer: Jonathan Hennessey
Length: 160
Formats: Trade Paperback
US publication date: 2008-10-21
Writer website

In the last two months of George W. Bush’s eight-year term as President of the United States, as President-Elect Barrack Obama assembles his cabinet, perhaps now is a good time for the American people to take a refresher course in United States history. Writer Jonathan Hennessey, a ten-year veteran of the film and television industry, along with artist Aaron McConnell, a freelance illustrator and author of several of his own comic books, including TheYoung PUPS and Black Gesso, have taken it upon themselves to offer the first lesson: The United States Constitution.

Published during the sweat-inducing final weeks of the U.S. presidential election, this graphic novel not only provides an easy-to-understand translation of the historical American document, but it presents the struggle our Founding Fathers endured in order to write it, so that elections like the one Obama, the first African-American to be elected Commander-in-Chief, could take place.

Hennessey and McConnell adapt the often hard-to-understand document into comic book form so that they can explain its concepts. The writing and illustrations are simple yet effective in bringing understanding to some of the most misunderstood U.S. laws, such as the process for voting on elected officials, how a bill is passed into law, and the “Bill of Rights”. It also points out common misconceptions, such as the belief that the word “democracy” is present in The Constitution. It is not.

When presented as a graphic novel, The United States Constitution becomes much more than the guidelines by which a country abides. It becomes a story that gives the readers a historical perspective of how much America has gone through to obtain and maintain its freedom and a clearer understanding of why it’s so important to hold our political leaders accountable for what they do. After all, isn’t it a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”?

The Founding Fathers had their flaws, and Hennessey and McConnell reflect those flaws in their work. Racism, sexism and anti-Semitism are all part of America’s history. Of course, times have changed and Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the rest of the Founding Fathers prepared for that change, creating a document which has been adaptable over the years. Hennessey and McConnell provide examples of contradictions and repeals, reflecting a changing American society.

At present, the American conscious has grown weary and numb from eight years of 9/11 scare tactics, public deceit, the War on Terror, and a plague of abuse and corruption. Before Obama is sworn in as the next U.S. President in January, let Hennessey and McConnell’s The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation be your refresher course.





In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.


Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.


Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.


Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.


Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.


'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.


Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.


From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.


Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.


Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".


On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.


Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.


That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.


Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.


Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.


Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.


'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.


Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.