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.
Introducing "Broken Doors"
An unusual warrant. A pattern of questionable no-knock raids. A reporting thread that just kept going. “Broken Doors” is a new investigative podcast series from the Washington Post. Hosted by Jenn Abelson and Nicole Dungca.
Ourselves and our posterity
In the "Constitutional" finale, we address listener questions about the history--and future--of the nation's governing document.
The First Amendment
Why do First Amendment rights trump nearly every other right in America? Thank Jehovah's Witnesses.
How should the Constitution's privacy protections be translated for a new era? This is a question before the Supreme Court today, but it was also a question that captivated a justice appointed to the Supreme Court 100 years ago — Louis Brandeis.
The passage and then repeal of the 18th Amendment, banning alcohol in America, highlighted the pitfalls of trying to legislate against vice.
Congress today faces the same question it faced a century ago when creating the modern tax system: What kind of society should America be?
The common defense
One intention the framers had when creating the U.S. Constitution was to “provide for the common defense.” But who shoulders that duty has not always been so clear.
What was the original point of the Second Amendment? We examine its colonial and revolutionary roots—plus its quiet companion, the Third Amendment—with renowned American history scholar Gordon Wood.
The words "marriage" and "love" appear nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. Yet 50 years ago, the Supreme Court issued a decision that would embed those concepts in the heart of the document itself.
"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."
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.
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?
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"?
From the American Revolution through today, women have been leading a long-burning rebellion to gain rights not originally guaranteed under the Constitution.
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.