• A Bill of Rights refresher | theSkimm
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    A Bill of Rights refresher | theSkimm

    The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments of the Constitution. It lays out the specific rights that individuals have as citizens. The idea for the American Bill of Rights actually came from the British. George Mason helped give us the idea. And then James Madison put it into practice. Talk about teamwork. So the First Amendment is the freedom of Go express yourself. The Second Amendment spells out the right to bear arms. Hotly debated today. The Third Amendment prevents Americans from having to house soldiers. So basically the president can’t make your house a personal AirBnB. The Fourth Amendment says that the US government cannot put any…

  • President Lyndon Baines Johnson 1966 State of the Union Address, 1/12/66. MP562.
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    President Lyndon Baines Johnson 1966 State of the Union Address, 1/12/66. MP562.

    Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union. January 12, 1966 Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the House and the Senate, my fellow Americans: I come before you tonight to report on the State of the Union for the third time. I come here to thank you and to add my tribute, once more, to the Nation’s gratitude for this, the 89th Congress. This Congress has already reserved for itself an honored chapter in the history of America. Our Nation tonight is engaged in a brutal and bitter conflict in Vietnam. Later on I want to discuss that struggle in some detail with you. It just…

  • Episode 111: Building a Better Government (with Richard A. Epstein)
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    Episode 111: Building a Better Government (with Richard A. Epstein)

    Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute. I’m Trevor Burrus. Aaron Ross Powell: And I’m Aaron Powell. Trevor Burrus: Joining us today is Richard Epstein, the Lawrence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law and the Director of the Classical Liberal Institute. He is the author of many important books including Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain and Simple Rules for a Complex World. His most recent book is The Classical Liberal Constitution. Welcome to Free Thoughts, Richard. Richard Epstein: It’s great to be here. Trevor Burrus: I would like to start with a broad question. There are many…

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    Constitutional change and democratic renewal | Sir Geoffrey Palmer | TEDxVUW

    Translator: Ivana Krivokuća Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Kia ora koutou. It’s a really great pleasure for me to talk to you tonight about how we are governed, about constitutional change. We are one of the world’s oldest democracies, but I think we need some democratic renewal. I came to this university, the very university where this talk is being recorded, in 1960 to study law and politics, and I became absolutely fascinated with how this country is governed. I became so interested in it that I became a law professor, and I’ve taught constitutional law in four countries. I once taught it to American students in France, but I…

  • Episode 139: The Philosophical Foundations of the Constitution (with Roger Pilon)
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    Episode 139: The Philosophical Foundations of the Constitution (with Roger Pilon)

    Aaron Powell: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute, I’m Aaron Powell. Trevor Burrus: And I’m Trevor Burrus. Aaron Powell: Joining us today is our colleague Roger Pilon, he’s the Vice President for Legal Affairs and founding director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute. Welcome to Free Thoughts, Roger. Roger Pilon: Thank you, good to be with you. Aaron Powell: The First Amendment reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” So we’ve got those words written down, how do we know what they mean? Roger Pilon: We look at the text as a start and if that…

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    Episode 148: Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government (with Gary Gerstle)

    Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute. I’m Trevor Burrus. Joining me today is Gary Gerstle, the Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge and the author of the new book, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present. Welcome to Free Thoughts, Gary. Gary Gerstle: Thank you very much. Trevor Burrus: So, I would start with the interesting and provocative title of your book, Liberty and Coercion. Why did you choose those two concepts, which I guess are somewhat antithetical concepts, as your—for your overview of American history? Gary Gerstle: Well, for me, those…

  • England’s ‘Glorious Revolution’ Explained
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    England’s ‘Glorious Revolution’ Explained

    You’ll see so much weirdness in this one image that I want point it out to you bit by bit. So this is obviously a coronation ceremony. Specifically, it’s the coronation of William and Mary in England, 1689. And that’s the first peculiarity. They’re being coronated as co-regents, co-monarchs- sharing power between two in a role which we typically have in our head as a job for one. So, a split crown and authority. Second oddity, one of those co-regents, William, on the verge of being King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is neither English, Scottish, or Irish- but rather, Dutch. But most history books will describe no great war…

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    Episode 149: Our Republican Constitution (with Randy E. Barnett)

    Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute. I’m Trevor Burrus. Aaron Ross Powell: And I’m Aaron Powell. Trevor Burrus: Joining us today is Randy E. Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at Georgetown University Law Center and the Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. He is the author of the new book Our Republican Constitution. Welcome to Free Thoughts. Randy Barnett: Thanks both of you for having me back. Trevor Burrus: So you and I were heavily involved in the Obamacare litigation, the first round of that and that’s how you opened up…

  • Constitution 101: The Preamble Delegates No Power
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    Constitution 101: The Preamble Delegates No Power

    A lot of people believe the Preamble to the Constitution gives the federal government the power to do just about anything. And a lot of people are wrong. If you learned anything about the Constitution in school, you learned the preamble. In fact, you may have even memorized it. Many people quote it to supposedly prove that the federal government has the power to do anything it wants to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.” But in a legal document, and the Constitution is in fact an 18th century legal document, a preamble does not carry…

  • Historical Context of the Human Rights Act 1998
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    Historical Context of the Human Rights Act 1998

    not until the aftermath of World War Two and its atrocities did issues concerning civil liberties and human rights once more gained worldwide attention at that point there was political resolve and popular support to have stronger monitoring and enforcement of minimum international standards of human rights. The United Nations was formed in 1948 and one of its first acts was the adoption the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it established a fundamental set of standards for countries to follow, however the declaration was limited in the individuals could not enforce these rights against governments at the same time as the United Nations declaration was being written there was a…