Octavius Catto, An American Character

February 21st, 2012 by

Not many people have heard of Octavius V. Catto (1839-1871), a professor from Philadelphia who was instrumental in securing early civil liberties for his fellow blacks in the city of brotherly love and across the nation. Anyone looking for inspiring stories for Black History Month should  explore Catto’s amazing story. In many ways Octavius Catto was the Read more…

Does “no law” really mean no law?

October 27th, 2011 by

Of all the amendments to the Constitution, the First is, in many respects, the one whose meaning seems most plain. Its protection of speech appears unequivocal: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” But some people wonder and worry if this prohibition against speech regulation has been observed by Congress and other government officials.

Bill of Frights! Do we still have the right to a fair trial?

October 26th, 2011 by

When accused of a crime, every citizen possesses the right to a fair trial–some details of what a fair trial encompasses are laid out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But some worry that mandatory minimum-sentencing guidelines are shifting the scales of justice and placing too much power in the hands of prosecutors, thus making it challenging for citizens to receive a fair trial.

Bill of Frights! Can the Government take your Home?

October 25th, 2011 by

What could be more frightening than violations of our constitutional rights? But is everything that appears to be a violation actually one? This week we’ll explore some current constitutional issues ripped from the headlines, and delve into some questions about whether rights are being violated. We hope you enjoy our Bill of Frights! “For every Read more…

Bill of Frights! Do warrantless searches violate the 4th Amendment?

October 24th, 2011 by

What could be more frightening than violations of our constitutional rights? But is everything that appears to be a violation actually one? This week we’ll explore some current constitutional issues ripped from the headlines, and delve into some questions about whether rights are being violated. We hope you enjoy our Bill of Frights! Under what Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Reviewing Committee of Detail Report

July 18th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – As the convention pressed into the late days of July, debate turned to the revised Virginia Plan’s resolutions on the Executive Branch. The ninth resolution proposed that “a National Executive be instituted to consist of a single person, to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of seven years…”. All delegations Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Virginia Plan Introduced

May 25th, 2011 by

Philadelphia -  Though 11 days late and still many members short, the Federal Convention finally secured the arrival of enough participants to begin discussing revisions to our Articles of Confederation. The Convention’s original slated start of May 14th saw only 2 delegations arrive in Philadelphia. Since then, 7 more delegations have completed their sojourns to Read more…

Electing the President

May 5th, 2011 by

This spring marks the start of the 2012 Presidential election campaign. In early April, President Barack Obama announced his reelection bid for the White House. Tonight, May 5, the first official GOP Presidential debate will take place in South Carolina. America’s electoral system is quite unique and often quite confusing. Although our country is frequently Read more…

Meet the Being an American Essay Contest Winners

March 24th, 2011 by

Over 24,000 students from all over the country submitted essays for this year’s Being an American Essay Contest. In their essays, each student wrote about a civic value and a historical figure who they believe best represented the American value. On Tuesday night, the Institute hosted a gala celebrating the 27 student finalists and their Read more…

Money and the Constitution

February 18th, 2011 by

It is difficult to overstate the task the Founding Fathers faced at the Constitutional Convention. One fundamental aspect of society at the forefront of the Founders minds was money—the economic medium of exchange. Prior to money, barter was the main vehicle of trade. For example, a carpenter who wanted some apples would have to locate Read more…