constitution day date
The Origins of the Constitution

More than 200 years after it was written, the Constitution of the United States still provides the framework for political life in America. Its provisions organize national political institutions, preserve basic rights for citizens, and arrange how the states fit into the workings of the national government. Within this framework, Americans have successfully strengthened their institutions in the face of new challenges, extended the political rights the Constitution establishes, and proven remarkably flexible in managing the relationship between the states and the national government. Now in its third century, this remarkable document remains at the heart of the American pursuit of a "more perfect Union."

Dr. William Livingston, professor emeritus, delivered five mini-lectures discussing the origins of the Constitution from the political and social developments that preceded the 1787 Convention to the final approval of the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights) four years later. Dr. Livingston's knowledge of the subject and unique perspective on Constitutional history provide both a historical overview and witty commentary on the creation of the Constitution.

At the time of the lectures, Dr. Livingston was the Senior Vice President at the University of Texas at Austin. He retired in Aug of 2007 after holding the position for twelve years. You may read the official announcement of his retirement here: http://www.utexas.edu/opa/news/2007/08/livingston21.html. For more about Professor Livingson's contributions and career please visit the "people" page on this site.

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William S. Livingston
The Road to Philadelphia Professor Livingston describes the prelude to the Constitutional Convention, including life under the Articles of Confederation.
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James Madison
Who's Who at the Convention Professor Livingston examines the group of men who gathered in Philadelphia and produced the Constitution.
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Ben Franklin
Crafting the Constitution The issues and conflicts among the delegates take center stage as Professor Livingston takes you to the floor of the Convention.
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Alexander Hamilton
Ratification: Taking it to the States The politics of ratification moves to the states as Professor Livingston recounts the battles to ratify the Constitution.
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John Adams
Building the Bill of Rights Professor Livingston explains how a wide range of concerns about the Constitution was addressed by adding the Bill of Rights.
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