Constitution USA With Peter Sagal, Season 1HDClosed Captioning
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Constitution USA with Peter Sagal explores the Constitution and its role in the American story -- from its creation, to the crises that challenged and reshaped it, to contemporary debates over rights and the role of government.
|1||HDClosed CaptioningVideoA More Perfect Union||Explore the Constitution’s most striking and innovative feature: its resilient brand of federalism||52:45||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|2||HDClosed CaptioningVideoIt's a Free Country||Examine what most Americans consider the Constitution’s most important feature: the Bill of Rights||52:46||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|3||HDClosed CaptioningVideoCreated Equal||Learn about the far-reaching changes created by the Fourteenth Amendment||52:45||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|4||HDClosed CaptioningVideoBuilt to Last?||Consider the systems that have kept the Constitution healthy for more than 225 years||52:46||$2.99||View In iTunes|
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Simplistic and cutsey
If Schoolhouse Rock gave us and entertaining 2-4th grade version of how American government works, this series gave us the 9th grade version.
While it purports to delve into the major/lasting critical issues and questions about our constitution, what it really does is focus on colorful people whose stories are related to these questions. Nothing makes this superficiality more obvious than the amount of screen time devoted to Sagal riding his custom-painted Harley. (He has revealed that this footage is actually quite inauthentic, as when then camera was not recording these shots, he wore a different helmet.)
These are complicated an thorny questions, but some of them really have been answered. Some of the views expressed by people on this show are at odd with well-established constitutional jurisprudence and are even self-contradictory. And yet the show allows these views to be expressed without being discredited.
Frankly, a high school graduate should be able to address these questions with more nuance and precision than this show attempts. But this show is clearly aimed at being accessible and entertaining first, and truly thought-provoking second at best.
Yes, this show may be informative -- particularly for those with poor civics educations in their past and/or those who have forgotten what their better teachers taught them in school. But it is not thought-provoking. It fails to actual challenge anyone -- on the right or left, from the conservative view or the liberal view -- to rethink their conception of constitution in this country.
It would be a great show for an 8th or 9th grade civics class. But to take up 4 hours of an educated adult's life? There are far better ways to develop your understanding of these issues.
I really enjoyed this; a terrific overview of a complicated subject, with current events woven in. It's not scholarly, and I doubt it was meant to be. But very illuminating.
Great for a Government class
These episodes can be fit nicely into a government teacher's curriculum. Episode #1 goes with federalism, #2 with First Amendment, #3 with Equality under the law, and #4 with the study about the structure of the Constitution. I showed episode #1 to my students at the end of the school year and they really enjoyed it. These episodes bring in good current examples and make these sometime difficult to understand principles of the Constitution easy to understand and relevant for high school students.