Learn About Black History, Culture and Politics

Learn about Black history in the United States before and after the Civil War; the Civil Rights Movement; the history of Africa; African American art; and African American trailblazers.

Voting Rights

The right of a citizen to vote is not directly protected in the Constitution, and throughout our history that right has often been granted to some, but denied to others. However, through various amendments to the Constitution, the right to vote has become more and more inclusive. Uncover the battle for voting rights in the National Constitution Center’s learning module.

Separation of Powers

Instead of placing authority in the hands of one person, like a king, or even a small group of people, the U.S. Constitution divides power. Power is first divided between the national, or federal government, and the state and local government under a system known as Federalism. At the federal level, the Constitution again divides power between the three major branches of our federal government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Discover the battles of the branches in the National Constitution Center’s learning module.

Founding Documents

Discover the documents at the bedrock of our nation’s founding and understand the fundamental ideas from each of the documents, and the major principles of the U.S. Constitution. Primary sources include the Declaration of Independence, Articles of the Confederation, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Federalist papers (#51, #70, #78), Brutus #1, and the amazing Letter from the Birmingham City Jail. Check out the National Constitution Center’s learning module for more resources!

Federalism

“Federalism” is the word used to describe the Constitution’s system of dividing political power between the national government and the states. What is federalism and how does it work? Why did the founders build federalism into our constitutional system and what are the modern debates over federalism today? Explore the National Constitution Center’s Federalism learning module to learn more!

Civil Rights

While the Reconstruction Amendments were an important step in ensuring equal rights for all people, regardless of race, racial injustices throughout the United States continued into the late 19th and 20th centuries, leading to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the passages of Supreme Court decisions and legislation, including Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Visit the National Constitution Center’s learning module to learn more about the freedom struggle and civil rights.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases

When the stories of We the People become cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and when those cases result in the opinions of the Court, history turns. The ways we think about and live under the Constitution are reflected in the Court’s interpretations in both their historical contexts and their legacies. Some cases — and the Court’s opinions in them — so profoundly alter our constitutional understandings that they can only rightly be called Landmark Cases, markers of where we have traveled as a nation. In this way, the Landmark Cases show us what we have tried, where we have been, and where we are — leaving We the People and future sessions of the Supreme Court to determine how we move forward toward a more perfect union.

The Electoral College

Today, the American people vote for president and vice president on Election Day. But, technically speaking, these votes don’t directly determine the outcome of the election. These popular votes determine which electors will be appointed to the Electoral College, which is made up of 538 electors drawn from the states and the District of Columbia. Each state is granted a different number of electoral votes based on the size of its congressional delegation. The electors meet after the general election to cast their votes for president and vice president.