Take a Deeper Dive Into the Constitution With These Resources
From books to podcasts to films, check out these supplemental resources to help you more thoroughly understand the context and impact of the Constitution.
As part of 101.9 FM WDET’s Book Club, we’re inviting the Detroit region to examine and discuss the text that impacts every resident of the United States: The Constitution. Whether you’re revisiting the documents or reading them for the first time, join us in reading along and engaging in civil conversations with your community.
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The Constitution, Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments establish the foundation upon which our democracy was built. And, just like democracy, they can be complicated, convoluted and somewhat difficult to understand.
Entire fields of study and work are dedicated to understanding and interpreting these foundational documents. Understandably, a cursory read of the texts may not allow you to fully grasp the concepts enumerated in them. Whether this is the case or you’re just looking for another way to engage with this content, check out the resources below to deepen your understanding of the topics at hand.
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- What’s Your Constitution I.Q.: How well do you really know the Constitution? Take this 10 question quiz to find out.
- How to Read the Constitution and Why (Kim Wehle): Legal expert Kim Wehle provides guidelines about how to make the most out of reading the Constitution and why it’s so valuable to understand the context of the document and how it impacts life today.
- OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say? (Ben Sheehan): Billed as the “non-boring guide to how our democracy is supposed to work,” this book provides clear notes on what the Constitution actually lays out in an accessible way. Also available in Spanish. If you’re not super into reading, you can watch a conversation with author Ben Sheehan.
- The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution (Eric Foner): The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, adopted during Reconstruction following the Civil War, aimed to correct some of the shortcomings of the Constitution as originally drafted. Author Eric Foner explores their significance and lasting impact.
- The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America (Dr. Carol Anderson): Author Carol Anderson explores the racist origins of the Second Amendment.
- The Soul of the First Amendment (Floyd Abrams): This book celebrates the First Amendment by highlighting how fundamental it is to our legal system, democracy and culture.
- 13th (Netflix): Considering how mass incarceration is an extension of slavery through the lens of the 13th Amendment.
- Amend: The Fight for America (Netflix): The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and guarantees all citizens “equal protection of the laws.” “Amend” examines the continuing fight for equal rights in America.
- A More Or Less Perfect Union (PBS): Hosted by Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, this series considers contentious issues from America’s past and today through the lens of the Constitution.
- Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (Netflix): The First Amendment protects the freedom of the press while the Fourth Amendment establishes personal privacy rights. “Nobody Speak” explores the intersection of both and how deep pockets are used to silence the media.
- The Words That Built America (HBO): Listen to actors, presidents, Supreme Court justices and other politicians, and middle school students read the documents upon which our country was built.
- Civics 101 (NHPR): Deepen your background and understanding of Constitutional principles and our democracy through this podcast from NHPR and PRX.
- Constitutional (Washington Post): Exploring the Constitution and the people who framed it and reframed it, including revolutionaries, abolitionists, justices, presidents and more.
- More Perfect (WNYC): The last season explores the impact and meaning 27 Amendments of the Constitution and, bonus, is accompanied by an album of original music and art inspired by the amendments.
- Patriot Lessons: American History & Civics (Michael Warren): A nonpartisan podcast that provides a deep dive into American history and the Constitution.
- We the People (National Constitution Center): Weekly constitutional debates where listeners can hear from all sides of constitutional issues.
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