Constitution USA – Episode IV: Built to Last? (We the People)

Lesson Duration

Part IV 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 IV: Built to Last? (We the People)

“In this last episode, Peter Sagal travels to Iceland where a few years after the country’s economic collapse, leaders decided to create a new constitution, turning to the U.S. Constitution for inspiration. This prompts Peter to consider why our own founding document has been able to last for more than 225 years. He looks at the systems that have kept the Constitution healthy–amendments, judicial interpretation, checks and balances —and also at the political forces that threaten to undermine the framers’ vision: excessive partisanship leading to gridlock, money in politics, and gerrymandering. Does our Constitution stand up to the 21st Century? Have we lost the art of democratic deliberation? How are you represented – and does your voice get heard?”

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: