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Constitution (U.S. Federal)

To know what the Framers intended, we need to understand the historical context.

Editor's Note: We asked Prof. Joseph Ellis, one of the leading scholars on the Founding era, to provide us with historical content for the Second Amendment and what the founders intended when they wrote it. Prof. Read more >>

The first ten amendments prevent majorities from exercising power at the expense of individuals. But they weren’t called a “bill of rights” until more than a century after ratification.

On December 15, 1941, America was at war. Just one week earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned the nation that our people, our territories, and our interests are in grave danger” after the “unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan” on Pearl Harbor. Read more >>

Taft is remembered for emphasizing constitutional restraint as President, but he also set aside more public lands and brought more anti-trust suits than his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt. And he set the standard for integrity and personal conduct in the White House.

Jeffrey Rosen is a historian, law professor, and President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Read more >>

In order to have a well-informed citizenry, it's critical to focus on history and civics education in our schools.

It is painful to see a state such as Massachusetts — so central to our Nation's past — plan to cut back even more on the teaching of American history. Read more >>

It is important to tell the story of the Constitution’s origins in a way that demythifies it. Impressive as they were, the men who wrote the Constitution were not demigods; they had interests, prejudices, and moral blind spots.

A diminutive, persuasive Virginian hijacked the Constitutional Convention and forced the moderates to accept a national government with vastly expanded powers

On May 5, 1787, James Madison arrived in Philadelphia. Read more >>

The Founding Fathers’ belief in the “law of the land” derived from a 13th-century document recently donated to the National Archives

“King John was not a good man,” wrote A. A. Milne in his children’s classic, Now We Are Six. This feckless 13th-century king so badly mismanaged his kingdom that powerful English barons confronted him in June 1215 at Runnymede, a large meadow in the Thames Valley. Read more >>

Should Mick Jagger get off of his cloud? And make room for Red Cloud? Was the Architect of Liberty a lousy architect? And who let the poodles out? Our fifth annual survey puts them all in their place.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SET ASIDE THE CONSTITUTION?

What does it mean to be an American? This may sound like a trite question, but it is one that we have been asking for the entire history of the United States, and it has more relevance than ever in the age of globalization—and terrorism. Read more >>

We tend to see the Constitution as permanent and inviolable—but we’re always wild to change it

Six weeks into the 104th Congress, the balanced budget amendment (hereinafter BBA) that had passed the House almost made it through the trickier procedural shoals of the Senate with the two-thirds majority needed to propel it on to the state legislatures. Read more >>

A recent British ambassador to Washington takes a generous-spirited but clear-eyed look at the document that, as he points out, owes its existence to King George III

The guest at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., leaves his car and is ushered through a comparatively modest, low-ceilinged entrance hall. Read more >>
At the first meeting of my first class in business school, our instructor divided the class into groups and gave each group a project. Read more >>

OR DON’T PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN RAM THROUGH TODAY

Dr. Benjamin Rush believed the hand of God must have been involved in the noble work. Read more >>

After the Revolution, Washington returned to farming at Mount Vernon but eventually called for that he wished a “Convention of the People” to establish a “Federal Constitution”

The battle smoke of the Revolution had scarcely cleared when desperate economic conditions in Massachusetts led former patriots to rise against the government they had created. The fear this event aroused played an important part in shaping the new Constitution of the United States

OCTOBER, 1786: “Are your people … mad?” thundered the usually calm George Washington to a Massachusetts correspondent. Read more >>

Without doubt they were Washington, who walked carefully within the Constitution, and Lincoln, who stretched it as far as he dared

A leading American historian challenges the long-entrenched interpretation originated by the late Charles A. Beard