Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

20th Amendment

The forgotten man who almost became President after Lincoln

April 15, 2019 By NCC Staff

On April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died from his assassin’s wounds. But if John Wilkes Booth’s plot were entirely successful, a little-known senator may have been thrust into the White House for almost a year.

On this day, government begins under our Constitution

March 4, 2019 By NCC Staff

It was 230 years ago today that the federal government started to operate under the terms of the U.S. Constitution, as the Confederation Congress ceded power. However, there was a major problem with the first session of the new Congress: not enough members showed up.

10 people who very nearly became President

February 18, 2019 By NCC Staff

On Presidents Day 2019, Constitution Daily looks at two “what if” scenarios that would have given us 10 different Presidents through history. What factor would have given us Samuel Tilden, Willie Mangum or Aaron Burr as the nation’s leader?

How the 20th Amendment made lame-duck sessions less lame

January 23, 2019 By NCC Staff

One of the most important, but least discussed, constitutional amendments made government more responsive by greatly shorting the time outgoing elected officials have a role in passing laws.

Happy birthday, 20th and 24th Amendments

January 23, 2019 By NCC Staff

Today we celebrate the ratification of not one, but two constitutional amendments: the 20th Amendment (ratified January 23, 1933) and the 24th Amendment (ratified January 23, 1964). Here's what you need to know.

Five little-known men who almost became president

August 11, 2018 By Scott Bomboy

What do Benjamin Wade, Willie P. Mangum and John Nance Garner all have in common? If not for a last-second decision, or a twist of fate, they might have become Acting President of the United States, in an era before the 25th Amendment existed.

Interactive Constitution: The Twentieth Amendment

July 17, 2017 By

Edward J. Larson and Jeff Shesol discuss the Twentieth Amendment, an important constitutional change that has never been the subject of a Supreme Court decision and has rarely been interpreted by lower courts.

A historical first and last - FDR’s final inauguration

January 20, 2017 By NCC Staff

The Constitution now sets January 20th as inauguration day every four years, but it was 72 years ago today that a historical first – and last occurred: The inauguration of a U.S. President to a fourth term in office.

What constitutional duties are placed on the President Elect?

January 6, 2017 By Scott Bomboy

On Friday afternoon, a joint session of Congress is expected to certify Donald Trump as the winner of the 2016 presidential election. Under the current version of the Constitution, does the President Elect have any constitutional duties or rights?

20th Amendment: Presidential Term and Succession

February 20, 2014 By NCC Staff

This so-called "Lame-Duck" amendment reduced the previous four-month period between the November elections and the March 4 starting date of congressional and presidential terms.

Sign up for our email newsletter