Law is all around us. And the basis of American Law comes not only from our early American past, but from our founding documents.
This episode begins our 4th Doing History series. Over the next four episodes, we’ll explore the early American origins of the Bill of Rights as well as the history of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment will serve as our case study so we can see where our rights come from and how they developed from the early American past.
In this episode we go inside the United States National Archives to investigate the Constitution and Bill of Rights. During our visit we’ll speak with Jessie Kratz, First Historian of the National Archives, and Mary Sarah Bilder, the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College, to better understand our founding documents and the laws they established.
About the Series
Law is all around us. The “Doing History: Understanding the Fourth Amendment” series uses the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment as case studies to examine where our rights come from and how they developed out of early American knowledge and experiences. It also uses the history of the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment to explore the history of law as a field of study and how this field of study differs from other historical subjects and how historians and lawyers use and view the history of the law differently.
The Doing History series explores early American history and how historians work. It is part of Ben Franklin’s World, which is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Be sure you check out Doing History season 1, Doing History: How Historians Work; Doing History season 2, Doing History: To the Revolution!; And, Doing History season 3, Doing History: Biography.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Jessie Kratz, First Historian of the United States National Archives, and Mary Sarah Bilder, the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College, take us through the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the laws they established.
What You’ll Discover
- The Founding Documents of the United States
- What makes a founding document a founding document
- The Bill of Rights as a document
- The creation of the Bill of Rights
- Information about different copies of the Bill of Rights
- How archives determine the significance of documents
- Life of the physical Bill of Rights document
- Creation of the National Archives
- The work of the National Archives
- Why the Constitution and Bill of Rights are important foundational documents
- How the Constitution and Bill of Rights are living documents
- The History of the Law
- How historians and lawyers use and think about the history of the law
- What the history of the law can tell us about the history of the United States
- Constitutional Law
- Statute Law
- Incorporation of federal law into state laws
- Classic constitutionalism
- The function of the United States Supreme Court
- How the federal and state constitutions work together
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jessie Kratz
- The National Archives
- Pieces of History, the U.S. National Archives Blog
- Mary Sarah Bilder
- Mary Sarah Bilder, Madison’s Hand:Revising the Constitutional Convention
- National Constitution Center
- Library of Congress
- Adam McNeil, “New Books in African American Studies” podcast
- Lindsay Chervinksy
- Jonathan Gienapp, “Constitutional Originalism and History”, Process History blog.
- Gautham Rao, “Friends in All the Right Places: The Newest Legal History”, Uncommon Sense blog.
- “Doing History 4 Legal Lexicon; or A Useful List of Terms You Might Not Know”
- “Doing History 4: Bibliography”
- Episode 038: Carolyn Harris, Magna Carta & Its Gifts to North America
- Episode 062: Carol Berkin, The Bill of Rights
- Episode 107: Mary Sarah Bilder, Revising the Constitutional Convention
- Episode 143: Michael Klarman, The Making of the United States Constitution
- Episode 210: Considering John Marshall, Part 1
- Episode 211: Considering John Marshall, Part 2
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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