Constitution USA – Episode II: It’s a Free Country (Rights)

Lesson Duration

Part II of a four-part series hosted by Peter Sagal. Viewers are introduced to some of today’s major constitutional debates. For “each contemporary story, Sagal dives into the history behind it and talks to prominent legal scholars, historians and public figures, finding out what the Constitution says, the dramatic historical events and crises that defined the Constitution, and why all this matters. Each one-hour episode of Constitution USA vividly illuminates a central theme essential to the Constitution.”

Episode II: It’s a Free Country (Rights)

“Ask Americans what the Constitution’s most important feature is, and most will say it’s the guarantees of liberty enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the Constitution.

Americans are fiercely proud of their freedoms but they continue to argue about what those basic rights are and how they can be sustained in a changing world. Are our rights unchangeable, or should they evolve over time? What is the proper role for the courts in interpreting rights?

In this hour, Peter explores the history of the Bill of Rights, and why each was included. He’ll look at several important rights cases in American history, involving freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to legal counsel, cases that have expanded or enforced basic liberties. He’ll also learn how technology, particularly the internet is challenging our right to privacy.”

Find video clips of this program on PBS LearningMedia:

The National Constitution Center has developed educational materials for each episode of Constitution USA which addresses a theme related to the Constitution.

For High School or Middle School educational materials, go to:


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