National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1987-: We the People are still making history

October 25, 2001
Terror attacks push us to ask how we can be safe and live free

New York's World Trade Center

When the Twin Towers fell on September 11, we wondered if liberty in America would ever be the same. Freedom had allowed terrorists to commit the unthinkable. Would freedom now have to be curtailed?

Like his predecessors in wartime, the President has pressed for sweeping powers to meet the crisis. Today, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act. Although it increases the government’s surveillance authority, many of its most controversial provisions will expire in four years, at Congress’s insistence.

As Americans, we’re torn–as our Founders were–between a need for security and a commitment to our liberties.

Have we found the right balance?

We look to the Constitution for the answers. But the Constitution depends on us as much as we depend on it.

Read about it in the New York times

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