Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Podcast: The Bill of Rights at 225

December 15, 2016 by NCC Staff

 

Independence Hall, Philadelphia (Wikimedia Commons Photo by Dan Smith)
Independence Hall, Philadelphia (Wikimedia Commons Photo by Dan Smith)

On December 15, 2016, the Bill of Rights turned 225 years old.

The Constitution that came out of the Convention of 1787 did not include a Bill of Rights, despite the objections of delegates George Mason and Elbridge Gerry, who sought to protect the fundamental rights of the people from a newly empowered President and Congress.

But during the ratification debates, opponents to the Constitution fought hard for amendments specifying those rights. Despite his initial resistance to the idea, James Madison eventually introduced a Bill of Rights in Congress. Ten of those amendments were ratified in 1791.

Joining We the People to discuss the history and legacy of the Bill of Rights are two leading historians of the Founding era.

Carol Berkin is Presidential Professor in American Colonial and Revolutionary History, and Women’s History, at Baruch College. She is the author of several books, including The Bill of Rights: The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties, which she discussed at the Constitution Center in May 2015.David O. Stewart is an historian, author, and constitutional lawyer. He, too, is the author of several books, including Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America. David was most recently at the Constitution Center in October 2016 for a program on George Mason and the Bill of Rights.

This show was engineered by Jason Gregory and produced by Nicandro Iannacci. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich and Tom Donnelly. The host of We the People is Jeffrey Rosen.

Get the latest constitutional news, and continue the conversation, on Facebook and Twitter.

We want to know what you think of the podcast! Email us at [email protected].

Please subscribe to We the People and our companion podcast, Live at America’s Town Hall, on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

We the People is a member of Slate’s Panoply network. Check out the full roster at Panoply.fm.

Despite our congressional charter, the National Constitution Center is a private nonprofit; we receive little government support, and we rely on the generosity of people around the country who are inspired by our nonpartisan mission of constitutional debate and education. Please consider becoming a member to support our work, including this podcast. Visit constitutioncenter.org to learn more.

Recent Stories on Constitution Daily

Court to clarify suspects’ Brady rightsDid the Democrats hurt their own chances to block Trump’s nominations?Podcast: Is this the end of partisan gerrymandering?
 

Sign up for our email newsletter