60-Second Civics

Monday, August 10
   Daily civics quiz
What does the word "manumission" mean?

 a. To enslave
 b. To release from slavery
 c. To inherit slaves
 d. To support slavery

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About the Podcast: 60-Second Civics is a daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation’s government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation’s history and government.

60-Second Civics is produced by the Center for Civic Education. The show's content is primarily derived from the Center’s education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy.

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Music:
The theme music for 60-Second Civics is provided by Cheryl B. Engelhardt. You can find her online at cbemusic.com. The song featured on the podcast is Cheryl B. Engelhardt's "Complacent," which you purchase on iTunes, along with all of Cheryl's music.


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60-Second Civics: Episode 4058, The Fairfax Resolves
George Mason, America's "forgotten founder," wrote the famous Fairfax Resolves in 1774, which were intended, as George Washington explained, to "defend our Constitutional Rights" and to set forth our fundamental principles.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4057, George Mason's Early Life
Like many of America's founders, George Mason had many good attributes. Nevertheless, his legacy is tarnished by the fact that was a slaveholder, as were George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4056, George Mason, the Reluctant Statesman
Most Americans know very little about George Mason, who was instrumental in getting the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution by the First Congress in 1791.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4055, George Mason, America's Forgotten Founder
George Mason was a highly influential Virginian who had a "profound understanding of republican government," and yet he remains largely unknown to the American public. Find out about America's "Forgotten Founder" over the next several episodes of 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4054, George Washington's Rules of Civility
Before he reached the age of sixteen, George Washington wrote down one hundred and ten "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation."


60-Second Civics: Episode 4053, George Washington's Views on Slavery
George Washington owned slaves and took steps to return slaves who escaped. Nevertheless, he came to reject slavery, both for the human suffering it caused and on principle.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4052, George Washington Warns Against Party and Faction
George Washington believed in the virtues of nonpartisan government, in which patriotic citizens of different views would be willing to serve together.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4051, How George Washington Established the Authority of the Presidency
George Washington's vigorous policies established the president as an energetic leader, not a ceremonial figurehead.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4050, George Washington Relied on the Advice of Others
As president, George Washington understood his own limitations and was not reluctant to rely upon the counsel of others.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4049, George Washington as President
As president, George Washington demonstrated the value of a strong executive in the hands of a trustworthy person.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4048, George Washington, the Reluctant President
Far from being eager for power as president, George Washington likened his feelings on once again taking up the burdens of public service to "those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution."


60-Second Civics: Episode 4047, A Strong Executive
George Washington did not participate in the public debates over ratification, although his support was widely known and had a strong influence.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4046, Washington's Support for Civilian Control of Government
George Washington strongly supported the principle that the military is subordinate to civilian government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4045, Washington's Support for Civilian Control of Government
George Washington strongly supported the principle that the military is subordinate to civilian government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4044, The Newburgh Conspiracy
Late in the Revolutionary War, a group of officers planned to march on Congress, demanding their pay. George Washington deftly confronted the officers and thwarted their plans.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4043, George Washington the Soldier
George Washington was a courageous and decisive soldier before and during the American Revolution. After independence was secured in 1783, Washington appeared before Congress and publicly resigned his military position, reinforcing the idea of civilian control of American government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4042, George Washington's Early Life
Today we begin a short series on George Washington, who was perhaps the most influential leader in the creation of the American nation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4041, James Madison and the Bill of Rights
Although originally opposed to a Bill of Rights, James Madison became its strongest proponent


60-Second Civics: Episode 4040, Madison Supports Freedom of Religion in Virginia
James Madison was a strong advocate for religious freedom and opposed the establishment of the Anglican church as a state-supported religion in Virginia.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4039, James Madison as a Champion for Religious Freedom
James Madison was a champion of religious freedom, believing that official religions were wrong because such a policy discriminated against the non-favored religions.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4038, James Madison's Fears About Slavery
James Madison was a slaveholder. Nevertheless, he denounced slavery as harmful for both enslaved people and those who held slaves.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4037, James Madison on Slavery
James Madison remained persistent critic of slavery throughout his public career. Nevertheless, benefited from slave labor all his life.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4036, James Madison's Evolving Opinion of Political Parties
James Madison was originally opposed to political parties, which he called factions, but changed his views. Learn how he later justified political parties on today's podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4035, Mr. Madison's Party
James Madison was originally opposed to political parties. That all changed when he decided to organize opposition to Alexander Hamilton's plans for the country.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4034, James Madison on Partisan Politics
James Madison was not a huge fan of political parties. Find out why on today's podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4033, If Men Were Angels, No Government Would Be Needed
Acknowledging that if "men were angels" no government would be needed, James Madison argued that any government "administered by men over men" must be so constituted so as to control itself as well as the governed.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4032, James Madison's Federalist Essays
James Madison's Federalist essays rank among the best political thought ever produced.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4031, James Madison's Federalist Essays
James Madison's Federalist essays rank among the best political thought ever produced.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4030, James Madison, the Convention's Most Active Delegate
James Madison played a very active role in the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, which drafted the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4029, James Madison's Views Did Not Always Prevail
Despite being known as the Father of the Constitution, James Madison's views did not always prevail at the Philadelphia Convention.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4028, James Madison Drafts the Virginia Plan
James Madison's Virginia Plan determined in large measure the direction the Philadelphia Convention would take.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4027, James Madison, Scholar and Politician
Despite the fact that James Madison was a small, slightly built and shy man with a quiet voice, he make a big impression on the Philadelpha Convention of 1787, later becoming known as the "Father of the Constitution."


60-Second Civics: Episode 4026, James Madison's Early Career
After college, James Madison had difficulty choosing a career, but he was drawn into the growing colonial resistance to the imperial policies of Great Britain.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4025, James Madison, Father of the Constitution
James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. He combined the intellectual knowledge and creativity of the scholar with the practical savvy of the politician.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4024, Participation in Government
Participation in government is in our self-interest. The amount of time spent participating will probably depend on how well we think our elected officials are doing.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4023, Social and Political Action
There are two general ways that citizens can address problems in the community through participation in civic life: through social action and through political action.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4022, Civic Life
Civic life is the public life of citizens. It is concerned with our own interests as well as the common interests of our community and nation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4021, Civic Participation
Civic participation means taking part in formal political processes and taking part in community activities outside of government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4020, Citizenship as an Office of Government
Some people say that the office of citizen is the highest office of government because citizens are the source of government's authority.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4019, Civil Disobedience
When laws or governmental actions conflict with a citizen's views of what is right and wrong, the citizen faces a difficult decision.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4018, Responsibilities of Citizens
With the rights of citizens of the United States come certain responsibilities, which can be grouped into two categories: personal responsibilities and civic responsibilities.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4017, Some Rights Can Be Limited
The rights of Americans are protected by the federal and state constitutions and bills of rights. However, it is reasonable and fair to place limits on most rights; they are not absolute.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4016, Personal, Political, and Economic Rights
There are three categories of rights that are important to democracy and to American citizens: personal rights, political rights, and economic rights.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4015, Legal Permanent Residents
Legal permanent residents enjoy most of the rights of citizens. An adult permanent resident may apply for citizenship after living in the United States legally for five years.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4014, Citizenship
In the United States, there are no degrees or classes of citizenship. In this country, citizenship does not depend on a person's race, gender, or ethnic origin. Every citizen is a full member of the political community.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4013, The Spread of American Ideas
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the American ideal of self-government spread around the world.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4012, Constitutional Powers to Deal With Other Countries
Each branch of the U.S. government has certain powers that come from the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4011, The United Nations
In the aftermath of World War II, fifty nations gathered together in San Francisco to create the United Nations.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4010, How Nations Interact
Today, the nations of the world are increasingly dependent on each other.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4009, International Law
International law consists of those rules that regulate how countries behave toward one another. It is usually made by treaties that nation-states make among themselves.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4008, The Indispensable Foundation of Individual Freedom
Due process of law involves two government responsibilities: (1) to protect the rights of an individual who may have broken the law, and (2) to protect everyone else from people who break the law and endanger the lives, liberty, or property of others.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4007, Due Process in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
The Fifth Amendment says, "No Person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." This applies to the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment includes actions by the states.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4006, Due Process of Law
The due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments are intended to guarantee that government will use fair procedures when gathering information and making decisions that affect our rights to life, liberty, and property.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4005, The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
In August of 1963, thousands of Americans marched in Washington, D.C. in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which segregation in public places, such as restaurants and hotels. When African Americans won these civil rights after years of struggle, other groups began to call for equal protection.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4004, The Civil Rights Movement
The civil rights movement began in the 1950s, seeking change to unjust laws and practices that treated African Americans unfairly and unequally. People marched in the streets, wrote letters to Congress asking for stronger laws, and held boycotts.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4003, Brown v. Board of Education
In the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court said that placing African American children in schools separate from white children denied them the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4002, Plessy v. Ferguson
The 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson allowed states to practice segregation for almost sixty years.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4001, Unfair Treatment of African Americans
"No State shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." But even with the constitutional protections of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War, African Americans were treated unfairly.


60-Second Civics: Episode 4000, Voting in the States
The states, although limited by the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act, still make some decisions regarding voting rights.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3999, Voting Age Lowered to Eighteen
During the Vietnam War, thousands of Americans were drafted to fight in souteast Asia, but many of these same troops had no right to vote because they were younger than 21. This all changed with the Twenty-sixth Amendment.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3998, Native Americans Gain the Right to Vote
Because Native Americans were not initially recognized as American citizens, they did not have the right to vote. This changed only in 1924 with the Indian Citizenship Act.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3997, Women's Struggle for the Right to Vote
Gaining the right to vote for women was a long, slow process.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3996, The Long Struggle for Voting Rights for African Americans
Even after the Civil War Amendments were passed, the rights of African Americans to full citizenship, including voting rights, was often denied. Learn about the long struggle for voting rights for African Americans on today's podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3995, The Right to Vote Denied to African Americans
Some states after the Civil War passed laws that made it impossible for African Americans to vote, these laws included literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and poll taxes.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3994, Civil War Amendments
The Civil War Amendments are the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. They abolished slavery, granted full citizenship to African Americans, and guaranteed the right to vote to men regardless of their "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Despite these constitutional guarantees, it would be a long time before African Americans were able to fully exercise the rights of citizenship.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3993, Dorr Rebellion
The little-known Dorr Rebellion took place in Rhode Island in 1841-42. Thomas Wilson Dorr convened a so-called "People's Convention" that drafted a new state constitution enfranchising all white men, rather than just those white men who owed property. The insurrection was quickly put down.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3992, The Right to Vote Severely Restricted in the Early Republic
In the early years of the American republic, only a narrow group of people were allowed to vote. Restrictions on voting would reduce, but it would take nearly two centuries before suffrage for all adults was achieved.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3991, Religion in Public Education
On today's 60-Second Civics, we explore an always-controversial topic in American public life: whether religious teaching should be supported in public schools.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3990, Limits to Free Exercise of Religion
Even though it is one of the most cherished liberties enjoyed by Americans, your freedom to practice your religious beliefs can be limited. For example, government can require that children be vaccinated against specific contagious diseases before being admitted to public school, even if that violates the religious beliefs of the children's parents.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3989, Conflicts about Freedom of Religion
Americans disagree about what the establishment and free exercise clauses of the Constitution mean.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3988, Freedom of Religion
Freedom of religion is an important part of the First Amendment to the Constitution. On today's podcast we learn about two parts of religious freedom: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3987, Tinker v. Des Moines
During the Vietnam War, several high school students war black armbands to protest the war. They were suspended from school and took their case to court, ending in a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. How did the Court rule? Find out on today's 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3986, Limits to Freedom of Expression
Many people believe that freedom of expression is necessary for the protection of all our individual freedoms, but there are some cases when free expression can be limited.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3985, How Freedom of Expression Benefits Democracy
Freedom of expression, which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, has many benefits, including increasing the chances of getting accurate information and having the ability to influence public opinion by persuasion without resorting to violence.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3984, Two Benefits of Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression has many benefits. The Founders of the United States believed that the right to hold and express one's beliefs was essential if citizens were to participate in the affairs of government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3983, Freedom of Expression
The First Amendment to our Constitution protects our freedom of expression. It says, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."


60-Second Civics: Episode 3982, How Supreme Court Justices Decide Cases
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court consider a number of factors when deciding cases.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3981, Modernism or Instrumentalism
The modernism or instrumentalism method of interpreting the Constitution asks Supreme Court justices to take into consideration today's social values and needs when deciding constitutional issues.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3980, Fundamental Principles
One method available to Supreme Court justices to interpret the Constitution is to refer to the fundamental principles that our Constitution is based on. These principles include natural rights philosophy, constitutionalism, republican government, and limited government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3979, Original Intent
One method of constitutional interpretation is to examine the intention the Framers of the Constitution had when writing the document. This method is often called original intent or original history.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3978, Textualism, Literalism, or Strict Construction
Advocates for using the plain meaning of the words of the Constitution to resolve differences about interpretation of the document say that this method keeps the Supreme Court neutral and makes the law certain and predictable. Detractors say that even the Framers disagreed about what the words in the Constitution meant.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3977, Four Methods of Constitutional Interpretation
There are four basic methods the Supreme Court uses to interpret the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3976, Marshall's Reasoning in the Marbury Case
On today's podcast, we learn how Chief Justice John Marshall justified the Supreme Court's power of judicial review over acts of Congress.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3975, Marbury v. Madison
William Marbury thought he had a right to a job given to him by John Adams. The Supreme Court agreed. But then it did something that would firmly establish its power of judicial review.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3974, Judicial Review over State Governments
Today's podcast describes judicial review and gives an example of how it works.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3973, Who Interprets the Constitution?
Today's episode covers a big topic, the power to decide what the Constitution means and whether laws and actions of government violate the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3972, Advantages of Political Parties
Tired of partisan bickering? On today's podcast, we learn about three ways that political parties are useful to our nation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3971, The Revolution of 1800
Despite the bitterness of the presidential contest between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the election of 1800 marked a milestone in the history of democratic rule.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3970, The Alien and Sedition Acts
By the election of 1796, there was serious hostility between the Federalists and the Republicans. The Alien and Sedition Acts outraged the Republicans.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3969, John Jay's Unpopular Treaty
John Jay negotiated a treaty with the British that was deeply unpopular with Americans.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3968, Americans Take Sides in the War Between France and Great Britain
In 1793, war broke out between France and Great Britain, raising the level of tension between the Federalists, who sought closer ties with the British, and the Republicans, who sought closer ties with the French.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3967, The Bank of the United States
Alexander Hamilton advised President George Washington that the necessary and proper clause of the Constitution gave government the power to create a Bank of the United States. Thomas Jefferson disagreed. Eventually, Washington decided in favor of Hamilton.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3966, Hamilton's Idea for a National Bank
As secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton wanted to strengthen the nation's economy.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3965, Hamilton vs. Jefferson
The views of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson about the powers of the federal government were often in conflict.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3964, The Rise of Political Parties
The Framers of the Constitution were opposed to the idea of political parties. Find out why on today's podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3963, The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights was passed by the first Congress. It contains ten amendments.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3962, The Creation of the Judicial Branch
Article III of the Constitution provided for a U.S. Supreme Court and said that Congress could establish lower courts as needed.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3961, Washington's Cabinet
George Washington, the nation's first president, could not run the executive branch alone. To help Washington fulfill his responsibilities, Congress created three departments: the Department of State, the Department of War, and the Department of the Treasury.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3960, The Nation's First President
George Washington had a strong sense of civic responsibility and felt that it was his duty to serve his country.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3959, Compromise on a Bill of Rights
The Federalists and Anti-Federalists disagreed over whether a bill of rights is needed for the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3958, Would the National Government Have Too Much Power?
During the debates over ratification of the Constitution, Federalists and Anti-Federalists disagreed over whether the national government would have too much power.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3957, Would the Constitution Maintain Republican Government?
One area of contention between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists was over the question of whether the Constitution would maintain republican government. The Federalists argued that it would; the Anti-Federalists argued that it would not.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3956, Three Basic Disagreements over Ratification
The debates between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists over ratification of the Constitution lasted for ten months. It was an intense and sometimes bitter political struggle.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3955, Meet the Anti-Federalists
The Anti-Federalists feared that flaws they saw in the Constitution would be a threat to their natural rights.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3954, Meet the Federalists
The Federalists were the people who supported ratifying the Constitution. They had a few advantages over the Anti-Federalists.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3953, James Madison's Plan for Ratification
The Framers knew that they had to get the Constitution approved, so they relied on social contract theory. The people would have to ratify the Constitution in special conventions in each state. The Constitution would be in effect after it had been ratified by the conventions of nine of the thirteen states.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3952, James Madison's Plan for Ratification
James Madison wanted the Constitution to be ratified, and he knew it might not be if Congress or state legislatures were asked to approve it. So, he came up with a plan.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3951, The Balance of Power
Today, the federal government has far more power over the state governments than most of the Framers of the Constitution could have imagined.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3950, The Supremacy Clause
The Framers of the Constitution agreed that the powers of the federal government were to be greater than the powers of the state governments. This is clearly stated in the supremacy clause of Article VI of the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3949, Constitutional Limits on the Power of Government
A constitutional government means that the powers of government are limited. The U.S. Constitution limits the powers of both the federal and state governments.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3948, Federalism in Practice
As citizens of the United States, the people delegate certain powers to the national government. As citizens of the various states, the people delegate certain powers to their state governments. The people have kept certain rights or powers and have not delegated them to any government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3947, Federalism
Federalism is the practice of dividing and sharing the powers of government between a central government and regional governments such as state governments.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3946, The People Are Sovereign
Today's podcast explains one of the fundamental ideas behind American government: popular sovereignty.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3945, Unitary and Confederal Systems
In a unitary system of government, a central government controls the state and local governments. In a confederation, the states are independent and have control of anything that affects their citizens and territory.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3944, The Supremacy Clause
What is the supreme law of the land? And what happens with the U.S. Constitution conflicts with a state law? Find out on today's 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3943, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction
Do you know the difference between original an appellate jurisdiction? Find out on today's 60-Second Civics podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3942, The Judicial Branch
Article III of the Constitution establishes the judicial branch. A national judiciary was needed to decide disputes between state governments and between citizens of two or more states; it was also needed for disputes between the national government and a state or a citizen.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3941, Origin of the Electoral College
The Electoral College was created because the Framers of the Constitution were concerned that the people would not know enough about the candidates to make good choices. They were also concerned that the people might not always have the wisdom to select the best person for president.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3940, The Framers Debate How to Select a President
The Framers of the Constitution wanted a president who would be like George Washington, in fact, the expected Washington to be the first president. Washington was patriotic, honest, devoted to the public good, and not interested in using power for his own advantage. But they knew that no president would be a saint, so they discussed how to select future presidents who would be as qualified as Washington.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3939, Impeachment
The process of impeachment is an important way to limit the power of the president and other federal officials and prevent the abuse of power. The House of Representative has the power to impeach the president and other federal officials. The Senate then holds a trial. Conviction and removal from office requires a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3938, The President Shares Power with Congress
The Constitution limits the powers of the executive branch by making it share most of its powers with Congress. For example, the president has the power to nominate people for important jobs in government, but only with the advice and consent of the Senate.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3937, The Powers of the Executive Branch
Article II of the Constitution lays out the powers of the executive branch of government. It is much shorter than Article I and is written in more general terms. The Framers of the Constitution wanted an executive branch with enough power to carry out its responsibilities yet not strong enough to overwhelm the other branches.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3936, Checks on the Lawmaking Powers of Congress
In this back-to-the basics episode of 60-Second Civics, we learn how a bill becomes a law, and how that law can become null and void if the Supreme Court decides that it violates the Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3935, Limits on the Power of Congress
Are there limits to the power of Congress? Find out on today's podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3934, General Powers of Congress
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution includes two general statements of power of Congress: the general welfare clause and the necessary and proper clause.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3933, Enumerated Powers of Congress
Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution includes seventeen enumerated powers of Congress, including the right to impose and collect taxes and duties, borrow money, and declare war.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3932, Describing the Powers of Congress
The Framers of the Constitution didn't want Congress to have too much power. So, they gave Congress specific powers, called the enumerated powers of the Constitution, and they placed limitations on those powers. They also gave Congress some general powers to deal with unexpected situations.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3931, The Problem With General Language in the Constitution
Learn about the debate at the Philadelphia Convention over what powers to give Congress.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3930, A Strong Government, But Not Too Strong
The American experience with the British government had caused many of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution to be suspicious of a central government and executive power. The Framers wanted the national governmet to be strong enough to protect the rights of the people, but not so strong that it would endanger those rights.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3929, Weak Congress under the Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, which was the framework for the first government of the United States, proved that it was not up to the challenges of its time. Congress was very weak, and could not control the actions of state governments.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3928, Slavery Compromises Delayed Conflict
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia would not have supported the Constitution without compromised that protected slavery in the South. This would have dire consequences for the country.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3927, Compromise on Tariffs and Slavery
The Constitution contained many compromises between Northern and Southern delegates in order to convince Southern delegates to support the system of government created by the document. Examples include allowing the slave trade to continue until at least 1808, the the three-fifths clause, and the fugitive slave clause.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3926, The Conflict Over Slavery at the Philadelphia Convention
Delegates from three Southern states at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 said they refused to be part of a union of states that denied them the right to own and import enslaved people. Delegates who opposed slavery faced a dilemma: include all thirteen states in the union or abolish slavery.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3925, Conflict Over Tariffs at the Philadelphia Convention
There was a conflict at the Philadelphia Convention over the issue of tariffs. The North was in favor of giving the national government the ability to levy tariffs in order to protect Northern industries, especially from British producers. The South feared that giving the national government this power would hurt Southern agriculture and the South's ability to buy manufactured goods from Europe.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3924, Economic Differences Between the North and South
Even during the founding period, the economies of the North and South were vastly different. This would cause problems in the years to come.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3923, One Person, One Vote in State Legislatures
Because of the Great Compromise, reached during the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, each state has equal representation in the Senate regardless of population and proportional representation in the House of Representatives. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that both houses of state legislatures must follow the principle of "one person, one vote," meaning that representation in each house must be in proportion to the population.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3922, The Compromise That Passed by One Vote
The Great Compromise, reached by the large and small states at the Philadelphia Convention, provided for equal representation of states in the Senate and proportional representation in the House. The Great Compromise cleared the way for the completion of the Constitution. Nevertheless, it passed by only one vote.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3921, The Great Compromise
With the Great Compromise, the large states and the small states at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 agreed to proportional representation and the House of Representatives and equal representation in the Senate, among other agreements. This ended the stalemate the had bedeviled the convention.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3920, The New Jersey Plan
At the Philadelphia Convention, a stalemate occurred between the large states, which favored proportional represention, and the small states, which favored equal representation. The small states proposed the New Jersey plan, which favored a weak national government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3919, Controversy Over the Virginia Plan
The principle of proportional representation was the most controversial aspect of James Madison's Virginia Plan. Under his proposed system, both houses of Congress would feature proportional representation. The small states objected, and by the middle of June 1787 asked for time to come up with an alternative to the Virginia Plan.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3918, The Virginia Plan
The Virginia Plan was drafted by James Madison before the start of the Philadelphia Convention. Coming to the convention with a well-considered plan was a good idea. The Virginia Plan's idea for a system of federalism and legislative, executive and judicial branches made it into the Constitution. But Madison's plan for proportional representation in both houses of Congress did not.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3917, The Conflict over Representation
There was a big disagreement at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 over representation in Congress. Large states argued that representatives in Congress should be determined by population. Small states, seeing their power slip away, objected, saying that equal representation in Congress was the way to go. Would they be able to compromise?


60-Second Civics: Episode 3916, Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution
The Framers of the Constitution agreed agreed that certain basic ideas about government should be included in the new constitution they were writing.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3915, Secrecy at the Philadelphia Convention
The Framers of the Constitution feared that if their discussions were made public, the delegates would not express their opinions freely.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3914, Gaining the Cooperation of Small States
The Philadelphia Convention was held in the summer of 1787 to amend the Articles of Confederation, but delegates quickly decided to scrap the Articles altogether and write a new constitution. But they had to walk a delicate tightrope: the small states and the large states united against against each other, afraid of losing their power.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3913, The Framers Agree to Write a New Constitution
At the Philadelphia Convention, the Framers of the Constitution created several rules to ensure civil discourse during what were sometimes contentious discussions. For example, when a delegate was speaking, other members could not pass notes, hold conversations with each other, or read a book, pamphlet, or paper.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3912, Who Did Not Attend the Philadelphia Convention?
Why did the entire state or Rhode Island refuse to send a delegation to the Philadelphia Convention? And why didn't Thomas Jefferson and John Adams attend? Find out on this episode of 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3911, Benjamin Franklin and Gouverneur Morris
Benjamin Franklin and Gouverneur Morris played important roles at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Franklin was by then 81 years old. As the senior statesman, he encouraged the delegates to cooperate with each other. Gouverneur Morris helped write the Constitution and prepared the document's final draft.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3910, James Madison and George Washington
James Madison is known as the "father of the Constitution" for creating the Virginia Plan, which was the basis for discussion at the Constitutional Convention about the structure of government. George Washington was probably the most respected man in the United States. He attended the convention to show Americans that he had not lost faith in republican government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3909, The Philadelphia Convention
By 1787, it was obvious that the Articles of Confederation would need to be reformed. So, Congress called for a meeting in Philadelphia to improve the Articles. Instead, the delegates drafted a new Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3908, Shays' Rebellion
Many Revolutionary War veterans had never been paid their wages. They had problems paying their debts in the late 1780s, and some lost their homes and farms and were sent to prison. This caused a rebellion and a crisis for the early republic.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3907, Financial Problems Foreshadow Shays' Rebellion
The United States suffered through serious economic turmoil in 1786. Businesses failed, trade suffered, and many people were in debt. A dramatic series of events that became known as Shays' Rebellion finally convinced many Americans that it was time for a change.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3906, Property Rights Under Threat in the Early Republic
Some people in the states during the early years of the American republic had formed factions to promote their own interests at the expense of the common good. They made laws to benefit themselves while ignoring the property rights of the political minority.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3905, Problems Caused by a Weak National Government under the Articles of Confederation
The weak national government under the Articles of Confederation led to severe problems during the early days of the republic. For example, Congress could not regulate trade between the states, so states taxed goods moving between them. This led to a slowdown in business and people lost their jobs.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3904, Treatment of Loyalists Caused Problems with the British
Despite a treaty with Great Britain that promised fair treatment of the Loyalists, state governments did not always respect the treaty, in some cases refusing to return property they had taken away from the Loyalists.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3903, No Power to Tax Under the Articles of Confederation
The United States experienced several problems as a result of the weak national government under the Articles of Confederation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3902, Accomplishments under the Articles of Confederation
Learn about some of the accomplishments of the national government under the Articles of Confederation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3901, How the Articles of Confederation Organized the National Government
Learn about the organization of the new national government under the Articles of Confederation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3900, Creating the Articles of Confederation
Learn about the Founders' considerations when creating a national government.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3899, The Need for a National Government
The American Founders believed that a national government was needed to unify the states and to conduct the Revolutionary War against British rule. Congress adopted the Articles of Conferation in 1777.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3898, Rights Protected in State Bills of Rights
After the Declaration of Independence, the states wrote their own constitutions, which normally included a bill of rights. Although the rights protected by state bills of rights varied, all included rights for people accused of a crime. Some included the idea that civic virtue was essential to preserving freedom.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3897, The Virginia Declaration of Rights
Learn about the Virginia Declaration of Rights on today's 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3896, State Bills of Rights
After the Declaration of Independence, states began to adopt their own state constitutions, which contained a declaration of rights or bill of rights that listed the basic rights of citizens.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3895, What Made the Massachusetts Constitution Different?
Learn about the influence of the Massachusetts constitution on today's podcast.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3894, The Massachusetts Constitution
Massachusetts was the last of the original thireen states to write its constitution, but it was a model for the U.S. Constitution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3893, Problems with Legislative Supremacy
Learn about the post-Revolutionary War state governments.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3892, More Basic Principles of State Constitutions
After the American Revolution, voting was not extended to everyone, although a larger percentage of people were allowed to vote in the United States than in Great Britain. Government was organized in similar ways in most states.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3891, Basic Principles of State Constitutions
The American Founders included several basic ideas about government in their state constitutions, including natural rights, higher law, social contract, and popular sovereignty.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3890, State Constitutions after the Revolution
Each state after independence created its own state government. The ideas that states included in their constitutions included natural rights and higher law, social contract, popular sovereignty, representation, separation of powers, checks and balances, and legislative supremacy.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3889, The End of the Revolutionary War
At long last the Revolutionary War ended with the British surrender at Yorktown and the formal peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Paris, signed two years later.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3888, Eliza Lucas Pinckney
Eliza Lucas Pinckney supported the American Revolution, but paid a terrible price: the British took over her mansion, burned her crops, and killed her farm animals. By the end of the war, she was economically ruined.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3887, Setbacks for the American cause
The Revolutionary War was not going well for the Americans in 1778-1780, with British victories in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Congress did not have the authority to raise money directly, and troops went without adequate clothing, food, and pay. It was a bleak time for the American Revolution.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3886, French Support Helps Turn the Tide of the War
French aid was vital to keeping the American cause going during the Revolutionary War. Diplomats Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin played important roles in securing that aid for the new nation.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3885, Valley Forge
During the winter at Valley Forge, American soldiers suffered from a lack of adequate food and shelter. Martha Washington and the daughter of Benjamin Franklin, Sarah Franklin Bache, rallied support for the troops, supplying them with 2,200 shirts and 400 pairs of stockings. Foreign volunteers, such as Baron von Steuben the Marquis de Lafayette, provided their support.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3884, The Battle of Saratoga
The American cause suffered a series of setbacks in 1777 until the decisive American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. But a long, hard winter lay ahead at Valley Forge.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3883, The Battles of Trenton and Princeton
George Washington knew he had to rally Americans to support the Revolution after a series of defeats. On Christmas Day, 1776, Washington led the Continental Army across the ice-choked Delaware River in a bold attack against Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, New Jersey.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3882, Victory or Defeat?
Victory in the American Revolution was not a sure thing. Early defeats threatened to stop the revolution in its tracks. In the face of these setbacks, Washington saw the need to convince Americans to support the Revolution with a series of bold raids.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3881, Our Nation's First Constitution
The Articles of Confederation was our nation's first constitution, but it had its problems.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3880, The Shot Heard 'Round the World
It was the "shot hear 'round the world." On April 19, 1775, skirmishes between American colonists and British soldiers broke out in the towns of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. News of the American rebellion and its demand for independence spread all over the world. The American Revolution would inspire other nations to declare their independence from colonial masters.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3879, Loyalists during the American Revolution
About 15 to 20 percent of the American population were Loyalists during the American Revolution, maintaining their allegiance to the British Crown. Many Loyalists were landowners, wealthy merchants, or officials of the king, but Loyalists came from all walks of life.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3878, A Country Divided by Revolution
Historians estimate that Loyalists composed 15 to 20 percent of the American population, Patriots composed 40 to 45 percent, and the rest were undecided.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3877, An Absolute Tyranny
The Declaration of Independence contains a long list of complaints against the King George III.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3876, Justification for Revolution in the Declaration of Independence
On this episode of 60-Second Civics, learn about how ideas from natural rights philosophy were used to justify the American Revolution in the Declaration of Independence.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3875, Natural Rights and the Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson used ideas from natural rights philosophy in the Declaration of Independence.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3874, The Second Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence contains some of the most fundamental principles and values of natural rights philosophy underlying the American political system.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3873, How the Declaration of Independence Is Organized
The Declaration of Independence is divided into four important parts. Learn what these parts are on today's 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3872, A New Nation
The Declaration of Independence, passed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, announced the final, momentous step in the colonists' resistance to the British government by rejecting the authority of the Crown.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3871, Writing the Declaration of Independence
The Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence was Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and a young Virginian named Thomas Jefferson.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3870, A State of Rebellion
The Second Continental Congress decided to resist the British a few weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord. They asked a committee to write a document explaining why they felt it was time to declare independence.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3869, The Revolutionary War Begins
Revolution loomed as the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in 1774. Congress banned trade with Britain and ordered the arrest of some of the leading colonists of Massachusetts. Fighting broke out in 1775 when British troops marched to the towns of Lexington and Concord.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3868, The Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party
Learn about two revolutionary events in the colonies: the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party


60-Second Civics: Episode 3867, The Sons and Daughters of Liberty
The Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Liberty organized resistance in the colonies to the Stamp Act, the Tea Act and other British laws designed to exercise control over the American colonies.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3866, Committees of Correspondence
How do you organize a resistance movement in the pre-internet days? You write letters. Learn about the committees of correspondence on today's 60-Second Civics.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3865, No Taxation Without Representation!
The laws passed by Parliament to raise revenue and assert control over the American colonies were viewed differently by the colonists and by the British. King George III felt that the colonists were acting like ungrateful children. The colonists felt that tax laws should be passed only by their colonial legislatures.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3864, The Boston Tea Party
What's the big deal about tea, anyway? In 1773, a tax on this favorite beverage of the American colonists led to an act of rebellion known today as the Boston Tea Party.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3863, The Stamp Act and the Quartering Act
The British Parliament imposed a number of laws in the 1760s and 1770s to raise revenue and assert their control over the colonies. These were seen as heavy-handed by the colonists, and sparked resentment and resistance.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3862, The Sugar Act
The unpopular Sugar Act of 1764 was meant to stop the smuggling of goods into and out of the American colonies. Many people resisted the new law, fanning the flames of rebellion.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3861, Britain Tightens Its Grip on the Colonies
After the French and Indian War, the British turned to the American colonies to pay its war debts. This and other measures were not popular with the colonists and increased tensions between Britain and the colonies


60-Second Civics: Episode 3860, Salutary Neglect
For many years, Great Britain had a hands-off approach to governing the American colonies. The colonists became used to ruling themselves. All this changed in the mid-1700s, however, when the British began to show a new interest in the colonies as a source of revenue.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3859, Government in the American Colonies
In each of the American colonies, the powers of the colonial governments were divided among three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.


60-Second Civics: Episode 3858, Government of the Thirteen Colonies
In creating colonial governments, the American colonists tried to protect themselves from abuse of power by the British government and their colonial governments.

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