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Constitution USA : with Peter Sagal

Call Number

  • DVD 342.73 C7582 (CEN)

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English or Spanish dialogue; English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.


Host, Peter Sagal.

Publication Information

PBS Distribution,

Physical Description

2 videodiscs (ca. 240 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.




Breathing new life into the traditional civics lesson, Peter Sagal travels across the country on a Harley Davidson to find out how the Constitution works in the 21st century.

[Episode 1]. A more perfect union: "Peter explores the Constitution's most striking and innovative feature: its resilient brand of federalism. The framers created a strong national government while at the same time preserving much of the power and independence of the states. This delicate balance of power, seemingly hard-wired for disagreement and conflict, has served America well for more than two centuries. But it has also led to tensions throughout American history and still sparks controversy today over medical marijuana, gun control, and Obamacare."--PBS website.

[Episode 2]. It's a free country: "Ask Americans what the Constitution's most important feature is, and most will say it's the guarantees of liberty enshrined in the Bill of Rights. In this episode, Peter explores the history of the Bill of Rights, and also takes on several stories ripped from the headlines, involving freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and right to privacy."--PBS website.

[Episode 3]. Created equal: "The high ideals of the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal,' endowed with 'unalienable rights,' didn't make it into the Constitution in 1787. It took three-quarters of a century, and a bloody civil war, before the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 made equality a constitutional right, and gave the federal government the power to enforce it. The far-reaching changes created by that amendment established new notions of citizenship, equal protection, due process, and personal liberty and today those notions are being used to fight for same sex marriage, voting rights, affirmative action, and immigration reform."--PBS website.

[Episode 4]. Built to last?: "Peter travels to Iceland where a few years after the country's economic collapse, leaders decided to create a new constitution, turning to the U.S. Constitution for inspiration. This prompts Peter to consider why our own founding document has been able to last for more than 225 years. He looks at the systems that have kept the Constitution healthy--amendments, judicial interpretation, checks and balances-- and also at the political forces that threaten to undermine the framers' vision: excessive partisanship leading to gridlock, money in politics, and gerrymandering."--PBS website.


Title from container.

Originally broadcast as a documentary mini-series on PBS in 2013.

Special features: Behind the scenes bonus video ; Spanish language version.


  • A more perfect union: Peter gets a motorcycle ; Medical marijuana ; Constitutional origins ; The Constitutional Convention ; State rights ; Growth of federal power ; Commerce clause.
  • It's a free country: Arizona Leathernecks The Bill of Rights ; Free speech ; Right to an attorney ; School prayer ; Property rights ; Right to privacy ; Fathia's story.
  • Created equal: Citizenship class ; The "Second Constitution" ; Same sex marriage ; Voting rights ; Affirmative action ; Illegal immigrants ; Bedroom laws ; Economic liberty ; New citizens.
  • Built to last?: Iceland's constitution ; Amendments ; Title IX ; Separation of powers ; Executive power ; Government inaction ; Congregational gridlock ; Constitutional crises ; A living document.

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