Rank #1: Episode 60: Federalism
On this episode: what is Federalism? Who uses it? Why do we separate our powers between the states and the national government, and what are the benefits and challenges of such a system? Our guest is John Dinan, professor at Wake Forest University and editor of Publius, the Journal of Federalism.
Sep 26 2017
Rank #2: Episode 2: White House Press Corps
What's it really like for a journalist stationed at the White House? We go inside the press briefing room with NPR's Senior White House Correspondent, Scott Horsley.
Civics 101 is a production of NHPR
Jan 25 2017
Rank #3: Episode 93: Welfare
Welfare is one of the nation's most contentious and least understood social programs. What began as support for single mothers and their children has throughout history been a target for stigmatization and budget cuts. Premilla Nadasen is author ofWelfare in The United States and she joined us to better understand the history and potential future of the program.
Jan 23 2018
Rank #4: Episode 91: The Two-Party System
There are lots of political parties in the United States - so how come we pretty much only hear about two? What is the 'two-party system' and why does it hold sway? Is it an intentional part of governmental design, or is this simply how history shook out? In this episode, we'll explore those questions, hear from an original member of a third party, and dig into something called Duverger's Law - which explains why two parties tend to dominate in American politics. Our guest is Civics 101 Senior Producer Taylor Quimby. This episode also features Hans Noel, political scientist at Georgetown University, and Lenny Brody, a member of the steering comittee at The Justice Party.
Jan 16 2018
Rank #5: Episode 56: The 1st Amendment - Freedom of Speech
On today's lesson: We take a broader look at the First Amendment, and then zero in on one of the freedoms it covers: the freedom of speech. We'll cover the text of the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, and why the framers chose to include so many important freedoms in one sentence. Also, what constitutes 'speech', and how landmark court cases have outlined the importance of context when determining the meaning of our first amendment rights. Our guest is Lata Nott, Executive Director of the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center.
Sep 12 2017
Rank #6: Midterm Edition: House v Senate
Two houses, both alike in...well, many things. But oh so different in many others. We go from absolute basics to the philosophical differences that exist in the Legislative branch. This episode features the opinions of former staffers from both chambers, Political Science professors, and political analysts.
Also, Brady Carlson tells the tale of the biggest loss in midterm history, and its relation to a federal holiday.
Oct 16 2018
Rank #7: Episode 55: The Federal Reserve
On today's lesson: What is the Federal Reserve? How important is it? What tools does the Fed use to manage the U.S economy, and why is it organized differently than other government agencies? Our guest is Louise Sheiner, policy director at the Brookings Institution's Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.
Sep 08 2017
Rank #8: Episode 3: The Comment Period
You've probably heard the term "comment period", but do you know what it means? What exactly happens when a government agency opens a proposed rule to public comment? And do these comments ever sway decision making? Today, a look into the notice and comment rule making procedure. Submit your questions at: www.civics101podcast.org #civics101pod
Jan 31 2017
Rank #9: Founding Documents: Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to our Constitution. Why do we have one? What does it 'do'? And what does it really, really do?
Our guests are Linda Monk, Alvin Tillery, David O. Stewart, Woody Holton, David Bobb, and Chuck Taft. Visit our website, civics101podcast.org, where you can get Chuck's wonderful Bill of Rights SURVIVOR lesson plan, along with our favorite Bill of Rights resources.
Each Amendment could be (and has been) its own episode. Except maybe the Third Amendment. So if you don't know them by heart, take two minutes to watch this video.
Feb 26 2019
Rank #10: Starter Kit: Executive Branch
In this episode of our Starter Kit series, a primer on the powers of the President, both constitutional and extra-constitutional. Also, a super inefficient mnemonic device to remember the 15 executive departments in the order of their creation.
Featuring the voices of Lisa Manheim, professor at UW School of Law and co-author of The Limits of Presidential Power, and Kathryn DePalo, professor at Florida International University and past president of the Florida Political Science Association.
Jul 09 2019
Rank #11: Founding Documents: The Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers
Ten days after the Constitution was signed at the Old Philadelphia State House, an anonymous op-ed appeared in the New York Journal. Signed by "Cato," it cautioned readers of the new Constitution to take it with a grain of salt. Even the wisest of men, it warned, can make mistakes. This launched a public debate that would last months, pitting pro-Constitution "Federalists" against Constitution-wary "Anti-Federalists." It was a battle for ratification, and it resulted in a glimpse into the minds of our Framers -- and a concession that would come to define American identity.
Feb 19 2019
Rank #12: Episode 69: The Federalist Papers
On this episode: What are the Federalist Papers? Who wrote them? Who uses them? And why should you read them? Michael Gerhardt, professor from UNC and scholar-in-residence at the National Constitution Center, not only explains these invaluable documents to us, he breaks down some of the more notable essays.
Oct 27 2017
Rank #13: Episode 72: The 2nd Amendment
On today's episode: The Second Amendment. For ages, the right to bear arms was among the least controversial amendments in the U.S. Constitution. Today, it's among the most divisive issues in American politics. What were the Founders hoping to achieve in ratifying The Second Amendment? When did the U.S. start regulating guns? What qualifies as arms? We'll seek out constitutional consensus on a topic where common ground is hard to find. Our guest is Jeffrey Rosen, CEO and President of the National Constitution Center, and host of We the People.
Nov 07 2017
Rank #14: Episode 68: Populism
On this episode: what is Populism? How can you identify a Populist candidate? What's its role inside of a democracy and what are some historical outcomes of populist movements? Our guest is Jan-Werner Mueller, professor of politics at Princeton University and author of What is Populism?
Oct 24 2017
Rank #15: Episode 64: The Nuclear Codes [Rebroadcast]
In this episode: What exactly does it mean when we say the President has "the nuclear codes”? Is it really as simple as pressing a button? And what happens after a president does order a nuclear strike? Retired Marine lieutenant colonel James W. Weirick, host of the podcast Military Justice, explains.
Oct 10 2017
Rank #16: Founding Documents: The Constitution
After just six years under the Articles of Confederation, a committee of anxious delegates agreed to meet in Philadelphia to amend the government. While the country suffered recession and rebellions, a group of fifty-five men determined the shape of the new United States. The document that emerged after that summer of debate was littered with strange ideas and unsavory concessions. The delegates decided they'd be pleased if this new government lasted fifty years. It has been our blueprint for over two centuries. This is the story of how our Constitution came to be.
Feb 12 2019
Rank #17: Episode 94: Super PACs
On this episode: What is a super PAC, and for that matter, what's a PAC? What are the rules they have to follow? Does spending money in an election count as free speech? We address campaign finance and the murky world of dark money with Dante Scala, political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.
Jan 26 2018
Rank #18: Episode 118: Presidential Transitions
On today's episode: what happens when the incumbent president leaves office and the president-elect enters? How is information shared? What laws or guidelines govern the transition of power? We talked with Max Stier, President and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, on the written and unwritten rules of presidential transitions. We also explore our own transition, as hosting duties for Civics 101 transition from Virginia Prescott to Hannah McCarthy and Nick Capodice.
Apr 24 2018
Rank #19: Episode 54: Security Clearance
On today's lesson: How do people receive security clearance to see secret, or top secret government material? Who grants it, and how is that clearance revoked in cases of misuse? Do people with security clearance have unfettered access to secret material, or is classified information compartmentalized? Also, does the President have any restrictions to his security clearance? Today's guest is Juliette Kayyem, national security analyst for CNN and Boston Public Radio, and host of the podcast The Scif.
Sep 05 2017
Rank #20: Episode 109: The Fourth Amendment
When an ordinary citizen interacts with law enforcement, it can be unnerving to realize the amount of power an officer wields: they've got the guns, the handcuffs, and the authority. But the Fourth Amendment places limits on governmental and police power. What exactly are those limits, and have they changed in the 21st century?
Cynthia Lee is a professor at George Washington University Law School and author of Searches and Seizures: The Fourth Amendment.
Correction: Cynthia Lee has written one book on the topic of the Fourth Amendment, not several, as stated in the episode's introduction.
Mar 23 2018