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 […]

“Intoxicating Liquors”: How the Volstead Act led to Prohibition corruption

Put away your lagers, your cocktail shakers, and your martini glasses. Prohibition is now in effect. On January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified. After decades of steadily growing in its political influence, the temperance movement had succeeded in prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transportation of “intoxicating liquors” throughout the United […]

Setting some limits on gun rights

Whatever awaits the Obama administration’s planned campaign to reduce gun violence across America, Second Amendment advocates are sure to bring lawsuits to challenge virtually anything that emerged from Congress, or from direct White House orders. The Supreme Court could be a major player in this, perhaps as early as its next term starting in October. […]