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With the writing of the Constitution in 1787, the framers set out a young nation’s highest ideals. And ever since, we’ve been fighting over it — what is in it and what was left out. At the heart of these arguments is the story of America.As a follow-up to the popular Washington Post podcast “Presidential,” reporter Lillian Cunningham returns with this series exploring the Constitution and the people who framed and reframed it — revolutionaries, abolitionists, suffragists, teetotalers, protesters, justices, presidents – in the ongoing struggle to form a more perfect union across a vast and diverse land.

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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In 1879, a case involving Chief Standing Bear came before a Nebraska courtroom and demanded an answer to the question: Are Native Americans considered human beings under the U.S. Constitution?


7 Aug 2017

Rank #1

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In the premier episode of “Constitutional,” we go back in time to that hot Philadelphia summer in 1787 when a group of revolutionary Americans debated, drank and together drafted the U.S. Constitution.

1hr 4mins

24 Jul 2017

Rank #2

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What makes someone American? A landmark Supreme Court case in 1898, involving a child born in San Francisco to Chinese immigrant parents, would help answer that question.


14 Aug 2017

Rank #3

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As powerful as it was to change the Constitution after the Civil War, and enshrine racial equality into our governing document, that wasn’t enough to change the reality of life in America.


21 Aug 2017

Rank #4

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From the American Revolution through today, women have been leading a long-burning rebellion to gain rights not originally guaranteed under the Constitution.


28 Aug 2017

Rank #5

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Senate and states

When the United States changed its process for electing senators, did that lead to a decline in state power? Or did it instead bring us closer to a "more perfect union"?


11 Sep 2017

Rank #6

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Congress and citizens

Is it a feature or a bug of the amendment process that an idea of James Madison's, more than 200 years ago, could be recently resurrected and etched into the U.S. Constitution?


25 Sep 2017

Rank #7

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Fair trials

In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that states must offer a defense attorney to all poor people accused of crimes. The decision transformed the concept of fair trials in America, but left major challenges to the justice system today.


9 Oct 2017

Rank #8

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Introducing 'Constitutional'

Preview The Washington Post's newest podcast, a narrative series about the revolutionary figures who shaped America's story. Subscribe now to get the first episode when it launches July 24.


29 Jun 2017

Rank #9

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Fair punishment

"There is so much feeling of racial injustice around the issue of punishment. And you have to understand that those feelings have a history -- and that history is Parchman Farm."


23 Oct 2017

Rank #10