Thursday, July 2, 2015
Blog of the Week, Vol. 1, No. 8
With this week's classes focusing on Thomas Jefferson (and a mid-term exam which my students literally aced) I looked for a blog that fits this time period. I decided to go with the National Constitution Center's blog which I only recently found. Their site has been around for a while and I use it during my Constitution lessons as well as refer students to it for additional study and exploration. It is one of the finest non-partisan sites on the Constitution that one can find on the Internet. The list of trustees and officers reflects that status. The historians, constitutional scholars, and experts in the field who have helped to create the Center and this website are sterling silver. In this day and age, I think that is important when using a website in conjunction with the Constitution.
Recently I noticed that the Center had begun a blog. I am not sure when it did, but I decided to follow it and have seen some very good blog entries come up. With the end of the current Supreme Court session having ended yesterday, (June 30) the blog has been very active as has been the site itself. You can find the blog here at http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/.
While teaching the Constitution I inevitably get asked questions on modern topics. I inform my students first that I am not a Constitutional scholar, and that on modern events I can only offer my opinion. I then like to refer them to various sites for more information or I suggest historical alternatives to the modern situation. That is always good to get them to consider information after doing research and developing an interpretation of their own. The National Constitution Center is a great place to send them.
Now with this blog, I think there may be more opportunities for them to see conflicting viewpoints. As any serious student of history knows, the ink was still wet on the document when Americans began to argue what it meant. The ratification process ironed some of that out, but as events showed in the Federalist Era, even those that were at the Convention disagreed on parts of its meaning. So it really is no surprise to see different interpretations of the Constitution today, with some being pretty farfetched and obviously unconstitutional such as secession, but others wide open to interpretation such as the recent ruling on gay marriage and discrimination.