27 Amendments (With a Focus on the Bill of Rights )

27 Amendments (With a Focus on the Bill of Rights )

In this fast-paced and fun session, students will review all of the 27 amendments added to the Constitution and explore the big ideas and changes that each one has made on our system of government. With a special focus on the Bill of Rights in celebration of Bill of Rights Day on December 15, students will cover its rights, its protections, and its limitations on government and the process by which it was discussed, debated, and ratified. Be ready for a quick review of over 230 years of constitutional history!

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Get started Hi everybody Welcome to class my name is Cody sotner I’m the chief learning Officer at the national Constitution Center and today we’re going to talk About all 27 amendments in about 27 Minutes so we like to say that this Class is super fun super fast a light Touch of the Amendments and the Amendment process and it’s like speed Dating for the Amendments but to do this Great work I am so honored to be here With Professor Kermit Roosevelt Professor Roosevelt is a professor of Constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania he is also a fantastic Teacher of this content for every age Bracket he’s got one of my favorite Moocs I’ve ever seen on the Constitution And he’s just a really good friend of The Constitution Center so without Further Ado I would like to welcome Professor Kermit Roosevelt Um Kermit would you like to say anything About to our students before we kick off Well thanks so much for joining thanks So much for having me Um this should be a lot of fun we are Going to have to go very fast Um I hope that you know if we can’t get Into enough detail on some of these it Will pique your interest and you can Look further into the great resources That the national Constitution Center

Has And that’s a great point so after class We always share out a Roundup and Professor Roosevelt you can do what Jeff Always does and we call them you call it Jeff work so you can have Kermit work And you can assign things that people Should read as you go and we’ll make Sure to send everybody the link after Class so they get access to those Documents now I want to talk about all 27 Amendments I want to talk about the 28th amendment that our students want to Propose maybe but before we can talk About all those amendments we have to Take a beat on how do you actually amend The Constitution so I have this Beautiful graphic would you mind walking Us through the amendment process in Article 5. Sure so there’s two different ways an Amendment can be proposed one is from Congress which is the way most of them Have been so two-thirds of the members Of each house of Congress can propose an Amendment or two-thirds of State Legislatures can call for it so you can Get around Congress if Congress is Blocking things But you need this proposal and then you Need ratification and ratification Requires three quarters of the states Either acting through their legislatures Which is the normal process or they can

Act in a ratifying convention also Awesome you did a really good job Keeping that shirt and sweet we’re gonna Do it current I feel very positive today Okay the other thing that we like to do When talking about the Amendments is Group them and kind of show some Patterns that we can find in these Amendments Um so feel free to share not just the Groupings that I have on this next slide But any other patterns as you’ve been Teaching these over the years that You’ve noticed about the Amendments what If they come how what was the Significance of some of them moving Forward and is there any way to organize Them in a structural way Yeah there definitely are ways to Organize them Um and you know what you have here is Basically right I think this is the way People basically do it so constitutional Change comes in bursts it reflects sort Of big changes in the National mood Generally so founding period we got our First 12 amendments we fix a couple of Mistakes in the Constitution and we put In some amendments the Bill of Rights First 10 amendments which protect Individuals against the federal Government and do a bit to empower States so the theme of the first 10 Amendments really is the federal

Government is dangerous the states are The good guys Then to get to reconstruction things Flip my personal Theory it’s in my book Is reconstruction is really a rejection Of the founding Constitution this is an Idiosyncratic view a lot of people will Say reconstruction is the Fulfillment of The founders ideals and the Declaration Of Independence but everyone agrees There’s a very different view here right Now the federal government is good the States are bad so now we get a bunch of Limits on the states which we didn’t Have before we get more power given to The federal government And we get a real concern with democracy For the first time we got an expansion Of voting rights Federal rules on what States can do with respect to the right To vote so that sort of gives us modern America our modern framework the Progressive Era the next one has a Vision that the government can be a Force for good and we can improve Government and we can improve democracy So the federal government gets more Powerful and we take more steps towards Improving the functioning of the Democratic process and then the modern Era I don’t think is that cohesive I Mean it’s it’s a long Gap it’s not a Single burst driven by a particular Ideology and I would say there we’re

Fixing more mistakes so there’s some Sort of technical mistakes and we’re Also paying attention to democracy so We’ve got some democracy promoting Amendments there too And we always had trouble naming this We’re like it’s the modern-ish era like We’re like we’re not really sure how to Name it I love that that Junk’s the Position that you pointed out between The founding era and the tonalness of Those and the Reconstruction and I’m Gonna share with everybody after class In the Roundup two great paintings that We’ve used to kind of show that moment There’s a painting from the founding era That shows like you know the the federal Government coming into you know to do This work and protect the people and the People saying that this is the balance We we don’t want you to have too much Power and then the flip of that with the Reconstruction where it’s like the Federal government coming in to protect The individuals right so I’ll share out Those paintings they’re great way to Teach this but let’s dive into that Founding era bucket and look through the First 12 amendments in that era so would You like to start with Madison it’s kind Of hard not to start there with the Bill Of Rights but we’ll kick it off with the Bill of Rights yeah sure so the Bill of Rights you can really consider part of

The original Constitution I think so When the Constitution was being debated Some people said we need a Bill of Rights we need limits on the federal Government we need confirmation of Individual rights some states actually Tried to make their ratification Conditional upon the addition of the Bill of Rights which may or may not have Been effective but in any case it wasn’t A surprise everyone knew we were going To get these amendments the important Thing about it that I would stress is They only bind the federal government They protect individuals from the Federal government because the federal Government is thought to be the threat States are supposed to be the good guys The Protectors of Liberty and the Bill Of Rights wasn’t actually considered That important at the time it’s not even Called The Bill of Rights Um until The sort of early 20th century when it Starts being applied against the states And it’s the application against the States that gives us a lot of the big Cases that we now think of as Bill of Rights cases but if you look carefully In a lot of these cases First Amendment Cases Fifth Amendment cases their Individuals asserting rights against States which means they’re really 14th Amendment cases so the Bill of Rights

Sort of nice building block but not as Significant as it is now Fantastic and I think that’s that’s like A kind of a mind blower for most of our Students because when you talk to people About you know what do you think of the Constitution it is almost always the Bill of Rights that they go to it is Almost always that like that’s their Connecting Point to the Constitution and Typically a lot of time it’s the first Amendment for people it all depends on The group you’re talking to Um but a lot of times we see that at the Museum in Philadelphia when people walk In and you say what do you think of when You think of the Constitution and they Say speech or press or something to that Effect so let’s start walking through Those amendments and let’s kick off with The First Amendment and this will always Be my question so was the first Amendment intentionally supposed to be First and we talk about it as the first Amendment now but was that the the Original plan No so people like to say oh they put it First because it’s the most important But it’s actually not true it wasn’t the First one that Madison proposed Madison Had a bunch of different amendments not All of them made it this is the first One that made it we’ll see later of Course one that didn’t make it for a

Long time comes along kind of at the end But Madison had a bunch of proposals That didn’t make it he wanted to put Some restrictions on the states he Wanted to codify the right to Revolution Actually in the Constitution so this is Just the first one that made it but Nonetheless it’s very important Awesome Um very important it’s got the five Freedoms in there religion speech press Assembly and petition big ones now we Group the next two together we like Groupings I believe these grouping sets Are from Akila Mars book but I know a Lot of professors use some version of it So feel free to tweak as you go Um Professor Roosevelt because I know You have these groupings as well so we Look at the second and third amendment So kind of walk us through what is the Second Amendment about Um what are kind of the pieces of it and Then we can check out the Third Amendment which is probably talked about The less than we talk about other Amendments sure yeah so the Second Amendment is really trying to create a Balance between federal and state Authority and power and it’s setting up The state militias as security for the Nation which means you don’t need a Federal standing army and people were Concerned about that because they

Thought a standing army was a tool for Tyrants Um but it’s also setting up the state Militias if necessary as a military Check on the federal government and in Federal 46 Madison talks about this Explicitly if they have to the state Militias will fight the federal Government and they will win so that’s The vision behind the Second Amendment Awesome and then the Third Amendment Which I know are Scott who was on Earlier he’s our chief editor he’s the Writer of the blog he’s written a lot of Pieces on the third amendment so he’s Super obsessed with the third amendment How often does it get talked about in Constitutional law it gets talked about Mostly as a joke really this is sort of Like a quirky choice for your favorite Amendment because it’s been very Successful in the sense that it’s not Really invoked much people don’t say my Third amendment rights are being Violated but it’s about a practice that The British engaged in that the Colonists disliked and a lot of the Bill Of Rights Provisions are like that you Can trace a bunch of the back to Complaints in the Declaration of Independence and one of them is he’s Been keeping bodies of troops Among Us And quartering them in our houses which Is a way of oppressing people

Awesome okay now we’re sharing in the Chat our favorite amendments to learn About because it really is hard to pick A favorite Amendment Um and I agree with June that I love the 14th and I can’t stop learning about it But I am overly obsessed about the Fourth Amendment and I feel like this is A fantastic one for high school students To really talk about so can you unpack The 14th Amendment why did we get it Um and then how it really can be used Today in our own lives Well the fourth amendment is probably The amendment fourth and first I guess Is the one most often invoked by high School students because like what Happens to high school students teachers Tell them they can’t say things and Their belongings get searched so the Fourth amendment is what protects you Against unreasonable searches and Seizures and again this is a reaction to Objectionable things the British Government was doing where they would Just go into your house and look for Whatever you know on the chance that They might turn something up that could Be used against you so the Fourth Amendment says no unreasonable searches It puts limits on warrants and it says You’ve got to say what you’re looking For and you’ve got to have a reason to Suspect that you’re going to find it

Awesome so I had to you can’t be all Over the place there’s no more General Warrants Um and you have to be specific and on Point when you’re violating somebody’s Privacy that much so how much does this Idea because I just I just dropped the Word privacy there how much of this idea Of privacy is wrapped around these Amendments and then that’ll lead me to Another question I’m sorry this is why We’re never on time because I asked too Many questions Um and students feel free to ask those Questions in the chat too how many how Much of the Big Ideas like privacy and Like other things are not always Explicitly spelled out in these Amendments but are really about the Value on the point of these amendments Yeah so one thing you can say is you can Look at the Amendments and they’ve got Specific provisions and specific limits And then you can connect them in terms Of themes and if you’re talking about The theme of privacy the fourth Amendment is clearly a big one because Why do you not let the government go Into people’s houses just because it Wants to look at what they have privacy Um you could say the same thing about The Third Amendment right respects the Sanctity of the home you could say the Same thing about the Ninth Amendment

Maybe which asserts that we’ve got Retained rights as we’ll see You can find a theme And I think it’s very important for us To look for those big overarching themes Because they’re these amendments are Short and so what are the meanings Behind it and then also we can look at Some of the primary sources around the Writing of these amendments and where Did the ideas come from and the stories Behind the people so are there any good Stories that we should look up after Class that could help give unpack the Fourth Amendment for us Um There’s a Aquila Mar has a good article Lord Camden meets federalism I think Which tells you some of that and Actually like Aquila Mars work on this All of this is really incredible so the Bill of Rights creation and Reconstruction specifically about the Bill of Rights and then America’s Constitution of biography will actually Walk you through Clause by Clause Amendment by Amendment awesome Um I always like the Otis the James Otis Story too that’s always one of my Favorites Okay let’s jump to the Fifth Amendment So tell us there’s a lot in the fifth This one’s a little longer than the Others so what’s the Fifth Amendment

About other than pleading well there’s An enormous amount in the Fifth Amendment um a lot of it has to do with Fair process and criminal trials uh they Also put in the takings Clause I’m not Exactly sure why it’s in the Fifth Amendment along with these sort of Criminal procedure ones and there is the Due process clause which is going to Turn out to be enormously broad the way The Supreme Court has read Awesome and we have the fifth kind of in Two different areas we have it as a Standalone but also like you just said a Part of you know the second grouping That we have of the Bill of Rights which Is the fifth through the Eighth Amendment and that looks at if your Process jury writes all those amendments Group together in that subcategory so You just kind of walked us through the Fifth Amendment let’s take a look at the Sixth Amendment Sure so constitutional criminal Procedure big topic it’s like its own Special course we’ve got a bunch of Protections for criminal defendants in The Fifth Amendment as we said like the Right to remain silent and then the Sixth amendment gives you more specific Rights also so speedy and public trial Impartial jury you have to be informed Of the charges against you you have the Right to confront witnesses to

Cross-examine them and you can call your Own Witnesses compulsory process for Obtaining Witnesses in your favor and The assistance of counsel although Originally that didn’t mean that the Government would give you a lawyer if You couldn’t afford one it just meant You were allowed to hire your own Fascinating okay Seventh Amendment we’re Cruising now Right so seventh amendment gives you a Right to a jury trial in civil cases Um now interestingly they put twenty Dollars in as the threshold here Thinking it’s only for the important Cases right where twenty dollars or more Is at stake Um obviously they weren’t taking Inflation into account Seriously Um now when we talk about people tending To love amendments I have always noticed That there’s a love of the Eighth Amendment for kids learning about it When they’re in middle school they’re Really interested in this idea of you Know excessive bails but also cruel and Unusual punishment and for me that’s Always tricky how you Define cruel and Unusual punishment it’s got to change Over time right Yeah well so when I go through the Constitution with my law my law students I do actually stop here and I say how do

You decide what’s cruel and unusual Right unusual seems like that means not A lot of people are doing it and that’s A very natural understanding actually if What you’re thinking is we’re trying to Regulate the federal government we don’t Want the federal government to stray too Far from what the states think is Appropriate and so we’re using sort of State consensus as a constraint on the Federal government but of course that Will change over time and the point of That is you can be an originalist right You can say the meaning of this doesn’t Change but that constant meaning right Don’t do things that a lot of states Have decided are too cruel is going to Give you different outcomes so at one Point it’s okay to whip people now it’s Not Yeah it is fascinating to kind of dive Into that contextual history of the the Time period to understand how these Words like hold meaning now the next two Amendments the ninth and 10th I feel Like we don’t talk about enough but They’re pretty important amendments and They’re wrapped around this idea of Popular sovereignty that people have Rights the people as us and the people As the state and one of our students Jacqueline already pointed out that one Of her favorite amendments to learn About is the Ninth Amendment so can you

Walk us through nine and ten Yeah so the ninth and 10th are important Amendments I think they don’t actually Play a big role in Supreme Court Decisions there’s not a lot of ninth and Tenth Amendment jurisprudence more with The tenth than with the ninth the Supreme Court has done almost nothing With the Ninth Amendment which is a Little bit surprising so the Ninth Amendment responds to a concern that Some people had about the Bill of Rights Which is if you list some rights Explicitly the government is going to Say oh those are the only rights you Have so if it’s not written down in the Constitution you don’t have that right We can do whatever we want on that issue And the ninth amendment is clearly Designed to rebut that argument so it Says the fact that we’ve listed certain Rights doesn’t mean you don’t have Others no it’s strange because a very Common form of constitutional argument Is show me in the Constitution where That right is ninth amendment seems like A response to that but it actually Hasn’t taken that role in the Supreme Court’s decisions And then the Tenth Amendment sort of Similar but instead of individual rights It’s about the powers of the states so It’s also telling us the States retain Powers that they didn’t either surrender

To the federal government or have taken Away from them by the Constitution so The Constitution tells States they can’t Do some things they can’t make treaties They can’t have their own currency they Can’t have armies and then they Surrender some powers to the federal Government the power over Foreign Affairs for instance but the 10th Amendment says apart from those two Categories of things the States retain All the powers they had before The Constitution was adopted Fantastic I always like the thought of The ninth amendment was like the Catch-all amendment like just to Safeguard and catch all now the 11th Amendment is again I’m one that people Don’t talk about as much but it’s a Pretty interesting Amendment so walk us Through the 11th Amendment and then We’ll get to some of my favorite stories On the 12th Amendment the 11th Amendment Is interesting and it’s very complicated The Supreme Court has done a lot with it And there’s a lot of legal scholarship About it too but basically this is Fixing a mistake so the original Constitution says that federal courts Have jurisdiction over suits by citizens Against other states And this means apparently that you can Sue a state in federal court and hold it Liable even if it wouldn’t allow that

Suit in its own courts because it would Assert sovereign immunity so this is About the immunity of the states and That happened an individual sued another State in federal court the state was Ordered to pay money people didn’t think That was appropriate so the 11th Amendment revises part of the Federal Judicial power Grant in article 3 and Says the digital power does not extend To Suits by a citizen against another State And that’s what I find I kind of find Interesting about the 11th and 12th and A few others later on and you said it Earlier some of these amendments are Fixing issues fixing issues that they Maybe didn’t realize would happen Um and things didn’t play out the way They originally intended and that leads Us perfectly to the 12th Amendment so How did the top Amendment come about Yeah so the 12th Amendment is fixing a Huge problem and it’s it’s sort of Ridiculous the way this happened Um and it shows you something maybe About how there’s definitely things the Framers didn’t foresee and the biggest Of those is probably the party system So if you don’t have parties it would Make some sense to say let’s just have One election for President and Vice President the person who gets the most Votes is the best leader they’re the

President person who gets the second Most votes is the second best leader They’re the vice president Doesn’t work out once you have the party System because now you’ve got slates Running and they sort of tried to take That into account but in the election of 1796 things went wrong because people Voted for their presidential candidate And then they sort of split their votes For the vice presidential candidate so The leader of One party got the most Votes that’s John Adams and then the Leader of this the other party Thomas Jefferson gets the second most votes so Now Adams is President and his hated Rival Thomas Jefferson is Vice President Terrible mess you might think they would Fix it and they sort of tried to fix it So in the next election 1800 everyone Was like okay we’re all going to vote For our leader and it’s Jefferson and Adams again and then we got to make sure To get enough votes for our second place Person to get them over the threshold if We win right so we don’t get one from Each party and they did that but they Did it too well so they were supposed to Withhold one vote for Aaron Burr so that He would come in second behind Jefferson But they didn’t do it like whoever’s job That was just forgot Burr and Jefferson Get the same number of electoral votes So it’s a tie and now it’s not clear

Which one’s going to be present which One’s going to be vice president Everyone knows what the intent is but The election gets thrown into the House Of Representatives it’s resolved Um by the Federalists ironically because The the other party is still in control Of Congress it’s the lame duck Federalist Administration they do end up Picking Thomas Jefferson which is what They were supposed to do but it’s clear The system is not working so the 12th Amendment revises that Awesome and Hamilton has a little bit to Play in there too right since we’ve all Listened to the musical the musical Presents it in a very misleading way to Be honest it’s pretty complicated I Couldn’t write a song about it myself I Have to say when I saw the musical in New York first I was like I think you All forgot to mention that a lot of this Happened in Philadelphia so there’s There’s moments yeah yes okay so my Favorite talking about fixing this huge Mistakes huge travesties you know we Leads us to the Reconstruction Amendments and these are my favorite Amendments to talk about so we look at The 13th 14th and 15th amendment that Happened during Reconstruction but let’s Be honest not everybody understands what Those terms mean reconstruction so what Is this time period how do you define

Reconstruction and then kind of walk us Through and here’s the beautiful graphic That I was referencing earlier walk us Through this time period and then the 13th 14th and 15th Amendment Yeah so reconstruction I think it’s Impossible to overstate the significance Of the change here and I sort of alluded To it before by saying under the Original Constitution the states are the Good guys the federal government is the Threat to Liberty that’s why we’re Empowering the state militias to fight The federal government to protect the Rights of the states and their citizens And I would say that’s kind of what Happened in the Civil War right the State military forces fought the federal Government the original Constitution the Federal’s 46 they kind of think the States are going to win the states are Supposed to win but they lose and I Think this is kind of the end of the Founders Vision so this is me being Idiosyncratic a lot of people say no Look this is when the ideals of the Declaration of Independence are put into The Constitution I have a different Story about that But Um now we get the idea that you can’t Leave it all up to the states that’s Sort of the big thing that everyone Agrees on we need the federal government

To intervene between states and their Own citizens and most fundamentally the Newly freed formerly enslaved people Because obviously the states aren’t Going to look after their rights the States aren’t going to protect them so You’ve got the federal government coming In here defending the rights of Individuals in a way that it never has Before And that’s like that’s what I love about I think this is a lithograph actually Not a painting but I really love about This painting because it’s setting up Like who’s the person in the center what Are they representing and they’re Representing that federal government and That’s where the flag is straight behind Them so we absolutely love using art and Like decoding the art as well as Decoding the documents around it so Let’s decode the amendment when we look At the 13th Amendment and it’s going on In the chat right now we’re talking About what is the what does the 13th Amendment do and then please address the Loophole in the 13th Amendment as well Yeah so the 13th amendment banned Slavery and this is like one of the Clear outcomes of the Civil War right we Had a war it was basically a war over Slavery the anti-slavery side one Slavery is banned now it says neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude except

As punishment for Crime shall exist There’s a question I guess a sort of a Live question about whether that’s a Loophole for slavery as well I don’t Think it’s ever been tried I don’t think Anyone said you’ve been convicted of Crime now you are a slave Um you could read the text that way but Involuntary servitude as punishment for Crime that’s clear that’s been done and In the former Confederate states after The Civil War that was done as part of a Broad comprehensive attempt to basically Reimpose slavery so you set up a web of Laws you’ve trapped people within this Web you convict them of something and You’re like okay now you are sentenced To work on this Plantation So you can basically reinstate slavery Um through a system of laws that set up Obligations that people can’t meet and Impose involuntary servitude as Punishment and you know there’s a strong Connection between that sort of web of Laws to over criminalization today and The who gets caught up in that web Awesome thank you so much and I know we Have a bunch of programs that really Unpacks that because we could spend Hours just talking about that talking About the history of chain gangs like All of all of this conversation around It so we’ll send that out in the Follow-up as well as as you all know

During late takes on each of these even Though we feel super guilty and want to Spend eight hours talking about the 13th And the 14th Amendment so sorry Kermit That I’m doing this to you real quick Overview of the 14th Amendment Okay so the 14th Amendment hands down Most important amendment in the Constitution changes America more than Anything else I think like pretty much Everyone agrees on that Um let me mention my book now the nation That never was talks about the way in Which the 14th Amendment restructured Society first sentence super important Birthright citizenship this is actually Like the most controversial thing this Is why Congress had to dissolve the Southern states and create new ones Basically because the former Confederate States were not willing to accept blacks As Citizens so Dred Scott the infamous Decision says blacks can never be Citizens 14th Amendment says anyone born In the United States is a citizen Regardless of what the states want Big denial to the states of the ability To Define their political communities Which is kind of the central value of The Declaration of Independence Um so now we’re saying there’s a federal Definition of citizenship being a Federal citizen makes you a state Citizen Federal citizenship is primary

And you’ve got Federal rights that’s What section one goes on to say right if You’re a federal citizen you’ve got Privileges or immunities you can’t be Deprived of life liberty or property Without due process and your all persons Actually are guaranteed the equal Protection of the laws so Federal Definition of citizenship rights that Come with citizenship and also some Rights that extend to all persons And there we’ll save some questions Towards the end but there’s a lot of Questions around this and some Modern Cases Um Roe v Wade and Dobbs as well so we Can kind of unpack that towards the end Um but remember what are these rights Lots of different rights but one big Thing to say is the Bill of Rights so This is where the Bill of Rights comes In this is why you have free speech Rights against the states for instance Who the states have been had been you Know quilting Free Speech rights and Freedom of religious rights for years it Wasn’t like they weren’t doing that and This really is the sticking Amendment it Ensures that the Bill of Rights over Time is six of the individual and not Just against the federal government now That brings us to the 15th Amendment Um so this is about African-American men Having the right to vote so one of the

Questions I have for you was we’re African-American men voting in America Before the 15th Amendment Yes they were you know I mean certainly Not in the former Confederate States but Sure free black men were voting in the North free black men participated in the Ratification of the Constitution Yeah I think that’s really important Because when we talk about putting these Amendments into the document it doesn’t Always mean that nothing happened before It does mean that we believe we’re Codifying this value and this belief Into the document now the one other Thing that I wanted to point out before We jump past the 13th 14th and 15th what When people call it the second founding What is it about these three amendments That feels a little different than other Amendments that they have this kind of Different shift of power in those as Well can you talk a little bit about the Enforcement Clauses in each of these Yeah so The vision of the founding I said was The federal government is the threat to Liberty the states are the ones who are Protecting it and if you look at the Original Bill of Rights it says Congress Can’t do a bunch of things Congress Shall make no law and it does empower The states in some ways so protecting State militias gives the state’s

Military power and then the Reconstruction amendments flip that Right now you’ve got no State shall Instead of Congress shall make no law Prohibitions on the states and you’ve Got a big Grant of power to Congress Right so Congress has the power to Enforce these amendments that means Congress can make laws that it couldn’t Make before so the original federal Government law making power is pretty Limited now Congress can legislate Against the badges and incidents of Slavery it can legislate to guarantee Equal protection it can legislate to Protect the privileges and immunities of Citizens of the United States so a lot More Federal power Isn’t really chicken that much it’s Totally maybe the 1950s and 60s but Let’s jump to the Progressive Era really Quickly because I know we’re running out Of time and I told you it is always hard To get all these in especially because We ask a lot of questions right so And we you’re doing great it’s it’s more Me Um let’s fly through these and we can Probably like bookend a couple of them The prohibition ones as well so 16th Amendment 16th amendment gives the Federal government clearly the power to Impose an income tax this was debated Before sort of gone back and forth now

The federal government’s going to have a Lot more money right it’s going to have A lot more income it’s going to be able To do a lot more so the federal Government is growing awesome good point 17th Amendment 17th Amendment now we’ve Got direct election of the Senators so Under the original Constitution State Legislatures pick them they’re going to Be responsive to the state legislatures They’re going to Care maybe about Spheres of State Authority and state Legislative power now the people select Them they’re not going to care about That so we’re shifting to a nationalist Model uh the federal government is going To be more active probably Awesome now this is one of my two Favorites um because we had a great Exhibit on on the 18th and the 21st We’ll do them together Okay so the 18th Amendment is probably The clearest example of putting a Specific policy Choice into the Constitution a sort of debatable policy Choice and it’s also an illustration Probably of why you shouldn’t do that So America thinks Alcohol is bad and you know there’s a Good reason to think that it’s a Plausible position lots of bad Consequences and we get a national Amendment Um and you might wonder you know why

Can’t you leave that up to the states Why couldn’t you just have a federal Statute complicated reasons but we do it By constitutional amendment in 1919. So we ban uh the manufacturer sale or Transportation of intoxicating leopards Came Uh it was one of his lines was Um he wrote the book on prohibition the Last call uh Dan okra and he said you Know we did have a drinking problem it Wasn’t like we didn’t have a drinking Problem in America so there’s oh when You look at the historical context There’s a lot of good reason but we also Didn’t like this and so pretty quickly We got the 21st Amendment Right so prohibition was a failure and You know as you said maybe there were Some good reasons for it uh it had maybe Some good effects but Americans really Weren’t willing to abide by it so you Get massive Defiance which is sort of Bad in terms of the symbolism and you Get massive criminal activity because Now it’s illegal and so the people Making profits off of alcohol are Criminals Um and it just it’s a rise in criminal Activity you’ve got like the speakeasies And Al Capone and gangsters and so on so We decide this is bad you know we should Bring it out into the open again rather Than bathtub gin we’re going to have an

Industry that we can regulate And now to one of my favorite amendments Is the 19th Amendment so let’s talk About the 19th so also part of the Progressive Era where again like I said Government’s getting bigger we’re going To improve government we’re going to Make a system that works for everyone And part of that of course is including People in the political process and Giving them a voice so the 19th Amendment guarantees women the right to Vote Awesome now we’re jumping into the Modern area see we’re making it there uh Roosevelt here we go the 20th Amendment Okay so this is this is fixing a problem Um and maybe maybe it’s also Illustrated In the sort of times change theme so you Know why why should the Constitution be Amended at all Because they made some mistakes and Because times change and 20th Amendment Accelerates the transition of power so It used to be that the President and Vice President would leave office in March and you’d have this very long lame Duck period when people who had been Voted out of office were still Exercising power that’s undesirable but Technologically maybe it was hard to do The transition faster but by 1933 we’re Capable of doing it faster we realize It’s a better idea we don’t want lame

Duck people holding office for too long So they move up the transition Great and now we jump we just did the 21st amendment ending pro um prohibition And now we’re jumping to the 22nd Amendment Right so the 22nd amendment is basically Responding to FDR Um and they decide that it had been a Custom no president would serve more Than two terms uh FDR broke that custom And people thought that was maybe Undesirable and probably wisely you know Because FDR accumulated an enormous Amount of power and could have done bad Things probably Um I don’t think he did I think he did Mostly good things he did some bad Things Um you know detention the Japanese Americans that was a bad one and he kind Of got away with that maybe in part Because he had appointed eight of the Justices at the Supreme Court who ruled On that so probably more than two terms Is an undesirable concentration of power In a single person that’s what this is About I mean I love about this is you know we Had a norm in our democracy for years That this Norm was two terms and you’re Done from Washington and now because of This we decided it’s important enough That we make it a rule and put it into

The Constitution so always looking at What the norm and what’s um a rule so That brings us to the 23rd Amendment in 1961. So the 23rd Amendment is a sort of Democratizing amendment I think it’s a Good step in the right direction I think It doesn’t go far enough But it used to be that the people of District of Columbia had no voice in Federal elections at all Um so the 23rd Amendment gives them some Voice in the selection of President they Get electors equivalent to the senators And representatives that they would have Had if they were a state they still have No representation in Congress I think DC Should be a state I think no taxation without Representation so is that your 28th Amendment I got a lot of men people talk about it To the end because one of our students Totally wants to hear your a couple of Yours so 24th Amendment this one blows My mind because I cannot believe it Isn’t until 1964 that poll taxes are Ended so talk a little bit about what Kind of made this happen finally ending Poll taxes yeah so this is what people Call the second reconstruction right we Call reconstruction the second founding We call the Civil Rights Movement Um and the Warren court that era so late

50s through the 60s into the 70s maybe We call that the second reconstruction Because that’s when a lot of the Constitutional provisions of Reconstruction really come alive there’s Sort of a brief period during Reconstruction when we’ve got integrated Governments in the south then they get Overthrown by force basically while the Federal government stands by and Reconstruction is submerged and defeated For almost 100 years then it comes back Brown V board of education is part of That the Civil Rights Acts are part of That the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Crucially is part of that and the 24th Amendment is part of it too because now We’re trying to make the 15th Amendment A reality so you can say no race Discrimination with respect to the right To vote states can try to get around That you know states can have poll taxes States can have tests that they Administer in a discriminatory way and It’s An attempt to really realize the promise Of reconstruction I would say that’s Driving this Fantastic now we get to the 25th Amendment Yeah so the 25th amendment is also sort Of fixing mistakes or Um clarifying things The original Constitution provided that

If the president died or left office the Duties of the presidency would devolve Upon the vice president but does that Mean they’re president or not it wasn’t Clear so this clarifies that vice President actually becomes president and Then it also allows the vice president And a majority of the cabinet to say That the president can’t fulfill his or Her duties so this is a provision that Lets them take out the president if the President is incapacitated has gone mad Something like that But this itself is not actually as clear As it needs to be because it sets up a Pretty complicated back and forth Struggle if the president is trying to Hold power and the vice president and The cabinet are trying to take him out It ends up passing it off to Congress But it doesn’t tell you who’s in charge While Congress is deciding Which is a problem And um and is this in reaction to Anything that happened like was it was There a moment in in American history That happened that kind of triggered This yeah this is basically in reaction To the Kennedy assassination where People realize we need to think about Succession we need to think about what Happens if the president is Incapacitated and not dead also got it Okay next we get to the 26th amendment

Yeah so this is another one of the Pro-democracy Amendments we’re expanding The franchise this is in part in Reaction to the Vietnam War So you have the spectacle of Americans With no voice in the political process Right people who are 18 to 21 they’re Not allowed to vote if they’re under 21 But they’re being told they have to lay Down their lives to defend this country And people think I think reasonably if The government is going to ask you to Lay down your life they should listen to Your voice Absolutely and I always find the Fascinating part about this one too is That it’s it’s the shortest correct I’m Remembering that right it’s only like Under four months four months yeah Fastest fastest ratification and that’s Perfect because that leads us to our Last one which is the longest right So tell us about the 27th so the 27th Amendment is part of Madison’s original Package I mean it’s not that exciting It’s a sort of anti-corruption law You’re worried that Congress might vote Themselves a giant pay raise and then Just take the money so this is supposed To stop that so if Congress votes Themselves a giant pay raise which they Could do it doesn’t take effect until There’s an election at which point the Voters can be like you’re corrupt you’re

Not getting that pay raise and they vote The Scoundrels out of office so it’s a You know sort of reasonable good Government provision I guess but it’s Not exciting enough to catch fire in the 18th century it doesn’t get ratified by Enough states in the original package Um and then Here Comes Gregory Watson so Gregory Watson is a student at the University of Texas and he’s writing a Paper for some government class and Comes across the 27th Amendment and he’s Looking at it he’s like huh hasn’t been Ratified and then he’s like hasn’t been Ratified yet because there’s no time Limit so the more recent amendments Congress often puts in a timeline of the 27th Amendment has no time limit it’s Been ratified by a bunch of States but Not enough and Gregor Watson’s like you Know what this could still be ratified So he writes his paper saying this could Still be ratified and amazingly the Professor is like no that’s a bad paper And gives him a c and Greg wants to like What are you talking about this is a Good idea and I’m gonna show you so he Goes out trying to get support for this Idea the 27th Amendment can still be Ratified Um and kind of amazingly he does and so A lot of this has to do with Senator William Cohen of Maine who’s like the First powerful political figure who

Really got excited about it but then Like Maine ratifies in 1983 and the push Gains momentum Um and in 1992 you get to the 38. Thresholds so you got you get to three Quarters and 202 years after it’s proposed this Amendment actually becomes part of the Constitution That’s awesome I love that story I love That the teacher went back and fixed the Grade um and this is uh Gregory Watson Not at the age of a student but the age Of the grade fix but it is I just think It’s really important to talk like look Through those old amendments and kind of Like parse out did we miss anything were There good ones that were up and that Brings me to Taylor’s question Um Taylor’s question was are there any Amendments that are connected to women’s Rights women’s equality and that that Easily connects to the time limit as Well so can you talk a little bit about Some of those amendments and maybe the Era yeah so it connects to the era which Was the sex equality Equal Rights Amendment Um Which Had a time limit so this is the problem So the era is moving along sort of like The 27th Amendment Um it made a lot of progress it kind of

Stalled some states ratified some states Tried to withdraw their ratifications There’s a question about whether that’s Effective But more recently more states have been Ratifying and so the question is if the Area gets Across the Threshold After the time limit has expired Is it part of our constitution And that depends on you know what you Think about congress’s ability to set a Time limit it depends a little bit on The effect of State attempts to withdraw Ratification Um it’s a complicated question It is It’s Tricky and we’ll send some Resources out so you can see the Different kind of stages where it is and The conversations around that now uh one Of our other students Bryce wanted to Know Professor Roosevelt what’s your Favorite Amendment or at least because Jeff can never answer that question so It’s okay if you can’t either with the One that you’re right now really jazzed About digging into more oh yeah I can 100 answer that it’s the 14th the 14th Is is everything that makes America Great Awesome I love it a lot more to say About that there’s just no way to go Into it now It’s great it’s wonderful and then um One of the other questions that we had

That I will use this as a last final Wrap-up question and you did a fantastic Job you really got us through all of Them in almost the right amount of time Um one of the questions that our Students asked earlier and I’m gonna Have to do it to you could you tell them About your last name because they just Noticed some similarities oh Uh yeah so we were talking about FDR Before and I was like oh actually he did Some good things did some bad things Um I’m not directly connected to FDR and Theodore Roosevelt’s great great Grandson a Theodore Roosevelt in Contrast after I was like I will observe The two-term limit even though he didn’t Really have to because he was elected Once he took office once because McKinley was assassinated he could have Run for another term Um which initially he didn’t do and then He’s like I’m going to do it as an Independent so Um He was a greater respecter of Constitutional Norms than FDR I would Say Um and he is my great great grandfather So that’s the connection am I related to The green Kermit well so if you look at The popularity of the name Kermit it Rises a lot after Theodore Roosevelt

Names his second son Kermit So I feel that Kermit the Frog must have Been inspired by that there’s like a Kermit Texas actually that’s named for Theodore’s son Um and ultimately yeah that’s that’s Where my name comes from too awesome and I do love though that there’s a website Where you can drop in your name and kind Of see the different time periods where It becomes very very popular so I love That you referenced that because it is Really interesting and you can look at Those historical contexts around it so Professor Roosevelt thank you so much This was really fun I’m super proud of Us that we got through all 27 and Students great conversation in the chat Great in the Q a we’ve all done Wonderful today and we’ll see keep Pondering and thinking about what are Those patterns and what are those Opportunities when we think about what Could be the 28th Amendment Um so feel free to keep dropping them in The chat we’ll save the chat and share It with everybody with lots of different Ideas books resources and everything so Professor Roosevelt thank you so much it Was great to have you in class today Yeah thanks so much for having me always A pleasure I’m going to officially stop the Recordings now

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