Welcome to Iowa Public Television! If you are seeing this message, you are using a browser that does not support web standards. This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device. Read more on our technical tips page.

Iowa Public Television


A History of the U.S. Constitution

Founding The Constitution (#102)

2. Founding the Constitution
1750 - Iron Act Restricts American Business
1754 – The Albany Plan of Union Sets Out the Foundation for the U.S. Constitution
1760 - James Otis Fights for the Security of People in Their Homes
1765 – The Stamp Act and Taxation Without Representation
1774 - The Quartering Act Leads to the Third Amendment
1774 - Massachusetts Creates the Minutemen Militia [27 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: This series illustrates how the U.S. Constitution has protected the American people from the abuses of power and tyranny and how for over two centuries the principles set forth by the Constitution have empowered Americans to excel and aspire to greatness – great art, great literature, excellence and leadership in science and technology.

« Upcoming Episodes

All Episodes

  • The Seeds of the Constitution (#101)

    1. The Seeds of the Constitution 1619 – Virginia Colonists Create the First Legislative Assembly 1733 – Parliament Restricts Free Trade Through the Molasses Act 1735 – The Peter Zenger Trial Plants the Seed for Freedom of the Press 1739 – Black Uprising in South Carolina Foreshadows Constitutional Crisis 1739 – The Great Awakening and the Separation of Church and State [27 minutes]

  • Writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (#103)

    3. Writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights 1774 - First Continental Congress Meets in Philadelphia 1776 - Declaration of Independence 1786 – Shays’ Rebellion Shows the Need for a New Constitution 1787 - The United States Constitution Is Written 1788 - Congress Sends 12 Amendments to the States 1789 - Alexander Hamilton Shapes America's Modern Industrial Economy 1791 - States Ratify Madison’s Bill of Rights [27 minutes]

  • Testing the Constitution (#104)

    4. Testing the Constitution 1793 – Congress Enacts a Fugitive Slave Act 1794 – Congress Passes the 11th Amendment Protecting States’ Rights 1794 – Freedom to Protest Is Tested in the Whiskey Rebellion 1796 – John Adams Becomes the Second President of United States Inaugurating the Two-party System and Is Responsible for the 12th Amendment 1798 – Alien and Sedition Acts Usher in a Bleak Period of American Political Freedom 1803 – John Marshall Establishes a Strong Supreme Court Through Marbury v. Madison [27 minutes]

  • The Constitution Survives (#105)

    5. The Constitution Survives 1810 – Marshall Establishes the Sanctity of Contracts 1828 – Jacksonian Democracy and the Constitution 1848 – Mexican-American War and Manifest Destiny Set up America's Greatest Constitutional Crisis 1861 – Southern States Secede and Force Constitutional Crisis [26 minutes]

  • The Constitution Is Expanded (#106)

    6. The Constitution Is Expanded 1865-70 – 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments: The Anti-Slavery Amendments 1872 – Susan B. Anthony Fights for Women’s Right to Vote 1887 – The Interstate Commerce Act Opens the Door for Increased Federal Power 1896 – Plessy v. Ferguson Establishes Separate but Equal for Black America 1913 – 16th Amendment Creates the Income Tax 1913 – 17th Amendment Allows for the Popular Election of Senators 1918 – Prohibition and the 18th Amendment [27 minutes]

  • The Constitution in a Changing World (#107)

    7. The Constitution in a Changing World 1919 - The Supreme Court Limits Free Speech and Freedom of the Press in Schenck v. U.S. 1920 – Women Gain the Right to Vote Through the 19th Amendment 1933 – 20th and 21st New Deal Amendments Herald a Change in American Life 1951 – Americans Limit a President to Two Terms with the 22nd Amendment 1954 – Brown v. Board of Education Ends “Separate but Equal” for Black America 1961 – Citizens of Washington D.C. Gain the Right to Vote with the 23rd Amendment [27 minutes]

  • Constitutional Reform and Controversy (#108)

    8: Constitutional Reform and Controversy 1961 – Supreme Court Prevents Illegal Search and Seizure with Mapp v. Ohio 1964 – Warren Court Strengthens “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” Through Miranda 1964 – 24th Amendment Prohibits Poll Taxes in Federal Elections 1967-92 – The 25th, 26th and 27th Amendments Reform America's Political Landscape 1973 – Roe v. Wade Extends Constitutional Right of Privacy 2000 – America Contests a Presidential Election [27 minutes]

« Upcoming Episodes

« Back to Programs A-Z

- display sidebar --->