Great inaugural addresses: John F. Kennedy

Constitution Daily looks back at some of the most noteworthy presidential inauguration speeches. John F. Kennedy’s speech in 1961 was one of the shortest but most powerful addresses made by a president. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by a narrow margin and became America’s youngest elected president. He developed his speech with writer Ted Sorenson and […]

Can your boss fire you for expressing your opinion?

Is a human resources official, who voiced opinions about gays that contradict her employer’s views, protected from being fired by the First Amendment? That’s the issue that a circuit court had to decide in December after Crystal Dixon wrote a letter to the op-ed section of the Toledo Free Press.   At the time, Dixon […]

Doubting a little of one’s infallibility: The real miracle at Philadelphia

Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a series on civility in public discourse – a joint project of ConSource and the National Constitution Center’s Constitution Daily. In the first post in this series, Webb discussed the importance of civic friendship in setting the tone to the deliberations of the delegates to the Philadelphia […]

Great inaugural addresses: Franklin Roosevelt

Constitution Daily looks back at some of the most noteworthy presidential inauguration speeches. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speeches dealt with imminent national crises and served to inspire millions. Roosevelt became president in 1933 as the United States was in the middle of the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s speech was heard by millions of people on the radio […]

Constitution Check: Where does the U.S. stand now on secession?

Lyle Denniston looks at the White House’s response to secession petitions, and how the idea extends beyond America’s shores. The statements at issue: “Free and open debate is what makes this country work…But as much as we value healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart….Our Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution the […]

Ben Franklin’s best inventions and innovations

In his day, Benjamin Franklin was Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Mark Zuckerberg, and Henry Ford, all rolled into one. Here’s a look at his most enduring innovations and inventions on January 17, Ben’s birthday. Like the above-mentioned people, Franklin invented his own widely used devices, or found innovative ways to improve on other people’s inventions. […]

Executive orders: How past presidents used them

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama issued 23 executive orders as part of his anti-gun-violence program. But what’s an executive order–and can Congress override one? According to, the federal government’s official portal, “presidents use executive orders to direct and manage how the federal government operates.” The order is a directive from the president that has […]

Social media, outreach part of Obama gun-law campaign

President Barack Obama will introduce a package of proposed laws and executive orders about gun control on Wednesday, as the debate over the Second Amendment heads to Congress. Some details are out about the announcement, as well as the grassroots plans to get lawmakers opposed to the measures to change their minds. The president asked […]