The Second Amendment

Why do we have a right to bear arms? How has that right changed? This video lecture is part of an online course called “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases,” taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. The course explores the questions: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

The American Presidency: Core Documents

This collection of documents on the presidency begins with Alexander Hamilton’s commentary on the sections of the Constitution related to the executive branch and ends with President Barack Obama’s address to the nation defending his interpretation of executive authority under the Constitution to use force against the Syrian regime. The documents cover the executive’s role and the specific topics of presidential selection, term limits, and impeachment.

Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates 1865-2009

The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates is structured around a series of topics, each based on a question for debate. For each topic, there is a collection of documents that, together, form the basis of argument over that topic – from those who debated it at a given point in American history. Volume One covers 1865-2009.
The goal is to explore a series of critical moments in American history by asking questions for which there are not simple yes/no answers, but instead call for informed discussion and rational debate. The Documents and Debates readers also include appendices of additional documents, and together are a perfect fit for any American History survey course, including AP U.S. History.

Japanese American Internment

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which gave the military broad powers to ban any citizen from a coastal area stretching from Washington state to California and extending inland into southern Arizona. For the next four years, more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry—77,000 of them American citizens—were removed from this area and incarcerated indefinitely without criminal charges or trial. Forty-six years and eight presidents later, on August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law.

Equal Protection: What Is Discrimination?

What is the purpose of the equal protection clause? What did Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education say? What are two ways of understanding the clause? This video lecture is part of an online course taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases” covers the topics: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

A Conversation on the Importance of the Japanese Internment Cases

Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy discuss two landmark cases, Korematsu v. U.S. and Hirabayashi v. U.S., in which the Supreme Court tried to strike a balance between individual rights and national security during wartime. The cases stem from President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1942 executive order that mandated the relocation of Japanese and Japanese Americans to internment camps. This video complements the documentary Korematsu and Civil Liberties.

Grades 8, 9-12
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Closed Captions

The Reconstruction Amendments

How did the Constitution change during Reconstruction? This video lecture is part of a an online course called “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases,” taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. The course explores these questions: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

The Civil War and Reconstruction

Why was the Civil War fought? How did Reconstruction change the relationship between the federal government, the states and the people? This video lecture explores these questions. It’s part of an online course taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases” covers the topics: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

The Meaning of Memorial Day

How should we remember those who have died in service of their country? In what manner and spirit should we remember? Why Memorial Day today? Our ebook, “The Meaning of Memorial Day,” explores these questions with selections from American authors and statesmen, including Herman Melville, Ernie Pyle, Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglass, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion.

The Meaning of Veterans Day

Each November 11, our nation commemorates Veterans Day. But what does the holiday mean, and how do we properly observe it? In this ebook, we examine the evolving meaning of Veterans Day, with selections by American authors and statesmen such as Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. A model conversation is also featured.