Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center


When Congress last used its powers to declare war

December 8, 2017 By NCC Staff

Today marks an important anniversary in American history: the congressional declaration of war on Japan on December 8, 1941. But since then, Congress has rarely used its constitutional power formally issue a war declaration.

Martin Van Buren’s legacy: Expert politician, mediocre president

December 5, 2017 By Scott Bomboy

On Martin Van Buren's birthday, Constitution Daily looks at the man who helped to create our modern two-party political system, well before he became eighth President.

On this day, President Johnson calls for the Warren Commission

November 29, 2017 By NCC Staff

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson used his constitutional powers to issue an executive order to ask for a special commission to investigate John F. Kennedy’s assassination a week earlier.

On this day, the 25th Amendment gets its first test

November 27, 2017 By NCC Staff

On November 27, 1973, the United States Senate became the first legislative house to act under the 25th Amendment, when it voted to approve Representative Gerald Ford as the new Vice President. A week later, the House also approved Ford, making his appointment official.

How JFK’s assassination led to a constitutional amendment

November 22, 2017 By NCC Staff

President John F. Kennedy’s death on November 22, 1963 traumatized a nation and led a united Congress to make a key constitutional change, in the form of the 25th amendment.

The real story behind the presidential turkey pardon

November 21, 2017 By NCC Staff

The presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey has become an annual event, but the peace between the fowl and the White House is a relatively thing. And in fact, a few presidents actually ate their guests!

10 fascinating facts about Robert F. Kennedy

November 20, 2017 By NCC Staff

On this day in 1925, Robert F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Mass. Kennedy was one of the seminal figures of the 1960s and led a very public life before he was fatally shot on June 5, 1968, at a Los Angeles hotel.

Chester Alan Arthur’s brave, short presidency

November 18, 2017 By NCC Staff

Fewer leaders had lower public expectations than Chester Alan Arthur, but fewer people knew the 21st President was dealing with a terminal illness while he pressed for government reforms and tax cuts during one term in office.

10 facts about Presidents who were also Veterans

November 11, 2017 By NCC Staff

On Veterans Day, Constitution Daily looks at 10 Presidents who had first-hand experience serving in the military before they were elected to office and became commanders in chief.

It was 157 years ago today: Abraham Lincoln is elected President

November 6, 2017 By NCC Staff

On November 6, 1860, voters in the United States went to the polls in an election that ended with Abraham Lincoln as President, in an act that that led to the Civil War. But Lincoln’s actual victory didn’t happen on that day, and his victory wasn’t assured for months.

Sign up for our email newsletter