Segments in this Video

Cruel and Unusual Punishment? (06:47)


Michael Seidman explores James Madison's and Thomas Jefferson's contrasting views on how often the Constitution should be modified. The first U.S. execution was a punishment for theft and occurred in Virginia in 1622.

Veto! (08:02)

Labor strikes followed WWII as coal mines shut down and the railroad system stopped. In June 1947, the Taft Hartley Act was signed, but the bill was vetoed by President Harry S. Truman. Within an hour, his veto was overruled by the House of Representatives.

Battle for the Ballot (03:52)

In 1913, 8,000 women led by Alice Paul marched in Washington to demand the right to vote. In 1869, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony argued that the 15th Amendment should include voting rights for women.

Battle for the Ballot, Part 2 (04:43)

The U.S. joined World War I in April 1917. Women were attacked and imprisoned for "obstructing traffic" while picketing the White House. The Nineteenth Amendment passed in the House of Representatives in 1918 and in the Senate in 1919.

Final Thoughts (02:05)

Host Renee Poussaint asks why the U.S. Constitution is viewed with almost sacred reverence. An American paradox requires the Constitution to be timeless and perfect but also flexible to meet change.

Credits: The Constitution: Fixed or Flexible? —Democracy in America (00:59)

Credits: The Constitution: Fixed or Flexible? —Democracy in America

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The Constitution: Fixed or Flexible? —Democracy in America

Part of the Series : Democracy in America
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This program examines the search for balance between the original Constitution and the need to interpret and adjust it to meet the needs of changing times. It explains the original Jeffersonian-Madisonian debate, the concept of checks and balances, and the stringent procedures for amending the Constitution.

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL113274

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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