18 EpisodesProduced by The Washington Post

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 “Preside… read more

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Ourselves and our posterity

February 12th, 2018


In the "Constitutional" finale, we address listener questions about the history--and future--of the nation's governing document.

The First Amendment

January 29th, 2018


Why do First Amendment rights trump nearly every other right in America? Thank Jehovah's Witnesses.


January 15th, 2018


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 …


January 1st, 2018


The passage and then repeal of the 18th Amendment, banning alcohol in America, highlighted the pitfalls of trying to legislate against vice.


December 18th, 2017


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

December 4th, 2017


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 …


November 20th, 2017


What was the original point of the Second Amendment? We examine its colonial and revolutionary roots—plus its quiet companion, the Third …


November 6th, 2017


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 …

Fair punishment

October 23rd, 2017


"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."

Fair trials

October 9th, 2017


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 …

Congress and citizens

September 25th, 2017


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 …

Senate and states

September 11th, 2017


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"?


August 28th, 2017


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


August 21st, 2017


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 …


August 14th, 2017


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


August 7th, 2017


This "we the people" episode explores indigenous rights. In 1879, a case involving Chief Standing Bear came before a Nebraska courtroom and demanded …


July 24th, 2017


In the premier episode of “Constitutional,” we go back in time to that hot Philadelphia summer in 1787 when a group of revolutionary Americans …

Introducing 'Constitutional'

June 29th, 2017


Preview The Washington Post's newest podcast, a narrative series about the revolutionary figures who shaped America's story. Subscribe now to get the …

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