While the United States Constitution is small in size, it is large enough to support our most dramatic disagreements. Beginning with the clash between slave states and free states, we have staged all of our controversies on the Articles and Amendments. Even during the Civil War, the Constitution held.
Once again we are divided on the merits of the Constitution: can it redeem us or is it a convenient cloak for white supremacy? Neither a divine document nor a tool of elites, the Constitution might also be seen as an invitation to develop the habits of political engagement through deliberation and adjudication.
In this presentation, Meg Mott considers how the Constitution both forces and frames our disagreements. In the first two centuries, citizens regularly debated public matters, drawing on the Constitution as a shared authority. What does it mean for our republic when only legal professionals take the stage?