5. The Constitution, Amendments and Supreme Court Decisions
The United States Constitution sets forth a government, in Abraham Lincoln’s famous phrase, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is a living, evolving document, its meaning changing over time through Congressional use of the “necessary and proper clause,” the passing of amendments, and decisions by the Supreme Court under its practice of judicial review.
The Civil War challenged the very existence of the Constitution in its dispute over the continuing slavery of Black Americans. Indeed, all of U.S. history has included struggles by individuals and groups to achieve constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and equal protection for race, gender, and disability.
The media literacy activities in this section explore the Prohibition era in U.S. history, efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and the Equality Act, how the Civil War is presented in historical publications, how race and gender are represented on U.S. currency, the importance of reading aloud Supreme Court dissents, and the potential impacts of cameras in federal and state courtrooms.