OwlTail

Cover image of Live at the National Constitution Center

Live at the National Constitution Center

Live constitutional conversations and debates featuring leading historians, journalists, scholars, and public officials hosted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and across America.To watch National Constitution Center Town Halls live, check out our schedule of upcoming programs at constitutioncenter.org/townhall. Register through Zoom to ask your constitutional questions in the Q&A or watch live on YouTube at YouTube.com/ConstitutionCenter.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

Eric Foner on The Second Founding

Pultizer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner tells the story of the battle to inscribe equality into the Constitution. Foner traces the arc of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution—the “Reconstruction amendments”—from their dramatic pre-Civil War origins to today, detailing how they changed our founding document and shaped American history. He sits down with National Constitution Center President Jeffrey Rosen.This program was presented in conjunction with the Center’s exhibit Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr

19 Nov 2019

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Madison, the Media, and the Mob

National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen moderates the first gathering of the Goldberg's: Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic; Michelle Goldberg, op-ed columnist for The New York Times; and Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of the National Review. These distinguished journalists share their insights into what James Madison would think of mainstream media, social media, and politics today. They explore everything from Twitter mobs and Facebook content regulation to the problems facing our American institutions, including Congress' decline in power, Americans' retreat from civil society, and heightened tribalism and partisanship.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

54mins

11 Dec 2018

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

Michael Beschloss: Presidents of War

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss discusses his new book, Presidents of War, exploring presidential war powers and stories of presidents during wartime. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates.

1hr 4mins

6 Nov 2018

Rank #3

Podcast cover

For Debate: Should the Constitution Be More Democratic?

Is the Constitution “democratic” enough? What does it mean to be a democracy as opposed to a republic—is there a significant difference, and why does it matter? Should institutions like the Senate and the Electoral College, which are sometimes criticized for being undemocratic, be reformed or abolished? Constitutional scholars and professors Randy Barnett of Georgetown Law and Vikram Amar of the University of Illinois College of Law sat down for a rich debate of these questions here at the National Constitution Center, moderated by NCC President Jeffrey Rosen.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

58mins

5 Nov 2019

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

The Presidents Adams and the Politics of Personality

Earlier this summer, historians Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein visited the National Constitution Center to discuss their new book 'The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality'. Professors Isenberg and Burstein, both of Louisiana State University, discussed the lives and political careers of father and son presidents John and John Quincy Adams, and explored the politics of personality in early America. They sat down with Lana Ulrich, senior director of content at the National Constitution Center. Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 4mins

31 Jul 2019

Rank #5

Podcast cover

The Fourth Amendment: Past and Present

Two leading Fourth Amendment scholars join NCC President Jeffrey Rosen to trace the history and interpretation of the Fourth Amendment from the founding to today. They explain some Fourth Amendment basics like: What is a warrant? What are subpoenas? When and why can they be issued? They also dive into key Supreme Court opinions that interpreted the Fourth Amendment, and give their takes on whether the Court’s Fourth Amendment doctrine has kept up with the digital age.This program was presented in partnership with the Federal Judicial Center.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

44mins

31 Dec 2019

Rank #6

Podcast cover

The Battle for the American Mind

Justin Driver provides a provocative account of the role the Supreme Court has played in defining the rights of students in America's public schools—from race and drugs to religion and free speech. Driver, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School and former high school teacher, discusses his book The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind live at the National Constitution Center in conversation with NCC in-house counsel Lana Ulrich. 

1hr

8 Jan 2019

Rank #7

Podcast cover

How to Save a Constitutional Democracy

Are we in the midst of a global crisis of decline in democracy? And is the United States vulnerable to that trend? Sharing insights from their book “How to Save a Constitutional Democracy,” University of Chicago law professors Aziz Z. Huq and Tom Ginsburg to explain why they think democracy might be headed for “death by 1,000 cuts” in places like Hungary and Poland and is at risk elsewhere in the world—but offer solutions to save it. They also evaluate the state of democracy in the United States through the lens of the Special Counsel investigation, access to the polls, and institutions like the Electoral College. National Constitution Center Director of Content and Constitutional Fellow Lana Ulrich moderates.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 1min

19 Mar 2019

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Preet Bharara on "Doing Justice"

In a sold out event at the National Constitution Center last week, Preet Bharara discussed his new book “Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law” with National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. Preet is the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and host of the podcast “Stay Tuned with Preet.” He shared stories and lessons from his work as a federal prosecutor, offered his take on the aftermath of the Mueller investigation, and gave his view on what it means to uphold the rule of law and do justice. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

58mins

17 Apr 2019

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Slavery and its Opponents at America’s Founding

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the start of American slavery, as the first ship brought enslaved Africans to the British colony of Virginia in August 1619. And, this time of year in 1787, the Framers were debating early drafts of the Constitution and wrestling with foundational questions about the new American republic – many of which surrounded the status of enslaved peoples. Historian Sean Wilentz reconsidered the Founders’ debates over slavery and the Constitution in this Town Hall – arguing that the original Constitution actually limited slavery’s legitimacy, and that the Framers did not formally enshrine the idea that there could be “property in man.” He discussed his book, ‘No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding’, with National Constitution Center President Jeff Rosen here at the NCC last fall.  Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 9mins

20 Aug 2019

Rank #10

Podcast cover

Armed in America

In this Town Hall, historian Patrick Charles and legal scholar Brandon Denning take a deep dive into the history of the right to bear arms in America – from colonial militias to concealed carry – and the ways that this history has intersected with how the Second Amendment has been interpreted over time. National Constitution Center Senior Director of Content Lana Ulrich hosts.  For more on the Second Amendment and an upcoming Supreme Court case that could have major implications for gun rights – tune into this week’s episode of our companion podcast We the People, available this Thursday wherever you get your podcasts.  Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 1min

28 Aug 2019

Rank #11

Podcast cover

Michael Tomasky on Polarization and How to Fix It

Michael Tomasky, special correspondent for The Daily Beast, stops by the National Constitution Center to discuss his new book If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How It Might be Saved. Speaking to a sold-out crowd, in conversation with NCC President Jeffrey Rosen, Tomasky tells of the unique history of American political parties, the rise of polarization and its negative effects on government, and possible solutions for healing the divides we face today. – like expanding the House of Representatives, eliminating the filibuster and the Electoral College, and encouraging moderate Republicans to run for office. Tomasky even offers his take on a possible presidential run by Howard Schultz. Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 1min

19 Feb 2019

Rank #12

Podcast cover

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on Reconstruction and Redemption

Last week, the National Constitution Center opened its new permanent exhibit  ‘Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality’ –America’s first devoted to exploring how constitutional clashes over slavery set the stage for the Civil War, and how the nation transformed the Constitution after the war with the addition of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. To celebrate the exhibit’s opening, NCC President Jeff Rosen sat down with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Gates is the host of a new PBS series about Reconstruction and the author of the new book “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow”. In this conversation, Gates tells the story of Reconstruction – discussing the advancements of Reconstruction and the Reconstruction Amendments, how those advancements were thwarted by Jim Crow laws and the rise of hate groups, how the Civil Rights Movement fought against that backlash, and how we are still dealing with many of these issues and challenges today. Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

41mins

14 May 2019

Rank #13

Podcast cover

We the Corporations

With 2020 election campaigns gearing up, we’re sharing one of our favorite past programs that explores Citizens United, corporate speech rights, and much more. Adam Winkler, author of "We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights"and Kent Greenfield, author of "Corporations Are People Too",explain how corporations won their rights through landmark cases and showdowns—including the case of Henry Ford versus the Dodge Brothers. National Constitution Center Scholar in Residence Michael Gerhardt hosts this wide-ranging discussion of the history of corporations in America and the evolution of corporate law. 

1hr 4mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #14

Podcast cover

The Presidents: America's Best and Worst

The office of the presidency has forged some of our nation’s very best, and very worst, leaders. In this Town Hall, a panel of presidential biographers explores what makes or breaks a presidency, and how presidents are ranked over time. C-SPAN Executive Chair Brian Lamb moderates a conversation with National Constitution Center President Jeff Rosen, NCC Scholar-in-Residence Michael Gerhardt, and author and journalist Robert Strauss. First, C-SPAN President Susan Swain introduces the panel as well as CSPAN’s new book 'The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America's Best—and Worst—Chief Executives'.  This program was presented in partnership with C-SPAN. For more on The Presidents, visit c-span.org/thepresidents.  Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 13mins

6 Aug 2019

Rank #15

Podcast cover

Should President Trump Be Impeached? Part One

This week, the National Constitution Center hosted a timely two-part discussion of impeachment. In panel one, leading constitutional scholars break down the facts at the center of the current impeachment inquiry, and share their thoughts on what the Framers of the Constitution might think of whether those facts rise to the level of an impeachable offense under their conception of and the definition of impeachment. They also share their own views on whether or not the President should be impeached. Tune back in next week to hear panel two, featuring current and former members of Congress who also debate how they would vote on whether or not to impeach.Panel one features: Michael Gerhardt – National Constitution Center Scholar in Residence, CNN impeachment expert, and professor at UNC Law School Keith Whittington – professor of politics at Princeton University Kimberly Wehle – professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and CBS News legal analyst John Malcolm – Vice President of the Institution for Constitutional Government at Heritage  Moderator: Jeffrey Rosen – National Constitution Center President Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

36mins

4 Dec 2019

Rank #16

Podcast cover

The Suffrage Movement: Revisiting the Final Campaign

Dawn Langan Teele, author of Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women’s Vote, and Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote (which has been optioned by Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin TV to be turned into a series or movie with executive producer Hillary Clinton) provide a stirring history of the long journey to women’s suffrage. They detail some of the key moments of the movement, the important political and constitutional ideas behind it, and the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Lana Ulrich, in-house counsel at the National Constitution Center, moderates.This program was presented in partnership with Vision 2020’s Women 100: A Celebration of American Women, a national initiative headquartered at Drexel University.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

59mins

25 Dec 2018

Rank #17

Podcast cover

The Human Side of Judging

How do judges manage the personal challenges that their role often requires them to face, including unconscious bias, chronic stress, exposure to emotionally-charged circumstances, and public pressure and scrutiny? Current and former judges join in candid conversations about how they have managed these challenges and how they have approached their work.The first panel features moderator Michael Lewis, author of books like ‘Moneyball’ and ‘The Big Short’ and host of the podcast ‘Against the Rules’, in conversation with Justice Eva Guzman of the Supreme Court of Texas and Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The second panel is moderated by National Constitution Center President Jeff Rosen, who sits down with Executive Director of the Berkeley Judicial Institute and former U.S. District judge for the Northern District of California Jeremy Fogel, former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court Carlos Moreno, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Deanell Reece Tacha.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr 16mins

25 Jun 2019

Rank #18

Podcast cover

Revolutionary Constitutions

Constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman discusses his new book, 'Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law'―an exploration of the origins, successes, and threats to revolutionary constitutionalism around the world—in conversation with National Constitution Center President Jeffrey Rosen. Professor Ackerman uses historical analysis and comparative constitutionalism to explore how constitutional change happens―here in the United States and around the world.If you’d like to hear more from Professor Ackerman, check out last week’s episode of our companion podcast We the People:“The Constitutional Stakes of the 2020 Election.”Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

1hr

11 Jun 2019

Rank #19

Podcast cover

Justice Neil Gorsuch

Justice Neil Gorsuch visited the National Constitution Center to celebrate Constitution Day and discuss his new book A Republic, If You Can Keep It. Justice Gorsuch, the Honorary Chair of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, sat down with President Jeffrey Rosen to discuss his passion for civics and civility, the importance of separation of powers, what originalism means to him, and why he is optimistic about the future of America.  Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

59mins

24 Sep 2019

Rank #20