Ask John Project Print E-mail

The Ask John Project, sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American Constitution and the Center for Civic Education, is an eight-week video series that offered a unique opportunity for students and teachers to learn about the Founding Period and constitutional history by interacting with Professor John Kaminski from the Center for the Study of the American Constitution at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He addressed questions submitted by We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution students from all over the nation as they participated in the program and prepared for their 2017–18 We the People state competitions this fall. These videos can help We the People students nationwide prepare for their state finals competitions. Each of the videos are embedded on this page and are featured on our YouTube channel and Facebook

Quick Links

Click on the links below to jump to the section you're interested in.

Unit 1, Question 1   Unit 1, Question 3   Unit 2, Question 1   Unit 2, Question 2   Unit 2, Question 3   
Unit 3, Question 2   Unit 3, Question 3, and Unit 4, Question 1   Unit 5, Question 1




State Hearing Questions

The unit questions referred to below are from the We the People state hearing questions. Professor Kaminski covered the questions listed below from Units 1-5. Download the questions here (pdf).


Week 1: Unit 1, Question 1


John Kaminski’s answers to Unit 1, Question 1:


1760s

Professor Kaminski answers questions about the 1760s



1770s

Professor Kaminski answers questions about the 1770s (this is the same video, but starting at about 39:35).




Week 2: Unit 1, Question 3

John Kaminski’s answers to Unit 1, Question 3:



Full Video
Unit 1, Question 3: "What events and documents in British history influenced the colonists’ thinking about government?"




"How are the British and American Constitutions similar? How are they different?" (Bullet 1)

Professor Kaminski answers questions about bullet 1: "How are the British and American Constitutions similar? How are they different?" (this is the same video, but starting at about 34:15)


"What were the rights of Englishmen?" (Bullet 2)

Professor Kaminski answers questions about bullet 2: "What were the rights of Englishmen?" (this is the same video, but starting at about 50:36)




Week 3: Unit 2, Question 1

John Kaminski’s answers to Unit 2, Question 1:



Full Video

Unit 2, Question 1: "Most of the delegates at the Philadelphia Convention signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. However, some did not. What were the Anti-Federalists’ objections to the proposed Constitution and how did their political philosophy shape their objections?"



How did the Federalists respond to Anti-Federalist objections? (Bullet 1)
Professor Kaminski answers questions about bullet 1: "How did the Federalists respond to Anti-Federalist objections?" (this is the same video, but starting at about 12:12)



What was the ratification process for adopting the Constitution, what democratic principles did it reflect, and how did it succeed? (Bullet 2)
Professor Kaminski answers questions about bullet 2: "What was the ratification process for adopting the Constitution, what democratic principles did it reflect, and how did it succeed?" (this is the same video, but starting at about 42:48)



Week 4: Unit 2, Question 2

John Kaminski's answers to Unit 2, Question 2:



Full Video

Unit 2, Question 1: "What were the major historical events and philosophical principles that influenced the debates over representation at the Philadelphia Convention?"



What were the major differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists on the issues of
representation? (Bullet 1)

Professor Kaminski answers questions about bullet 1: "What were the major differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists on the issues of representation?" (this is the same video, but starting at about 26:01)



Week 5: Unit 2, Question 3

John Kaminski’s answers to Unit 2, Question 3:



Full Video

Unit 2, Question 3: "The Articles of Confederation provided the framework for an alliance of states to fight the Revolutionary War and to govern after the war. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?"




What is the significance of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787? (Bullet 1)

Professor Kaminski answers questions about Unit 2, Question 3, bullet 1: "What is the significance of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787?" (this is the same video, but starting at about 20:03)



        
Week 6: Unit 3, Question 2

John Kaminski’s answers to Unit 3, Question 2:



Full Video


Unit 3, Question 2: "If a law has been properly passed by the law-making branches of a democratic government, why should judges have the power to declare it unconstitutional?” Do you agree or disagree with the position implied by this question? Why or why not?"

At 29:43 Prof. Kaminski discusses the debate over the judiciary during the ratification debates.


Week 7: Unit 3, Question 3, and Unit 4, Question 1

John Kaminski's answers to Unit 3, Question 3, and Unit 4, Question 1:



Full Video

Unit 3, Question 3: “If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” Do you agree or disagree with President Eisenhower? Why? What ideas and events led to the development and growth of political parties in the United States?

At 31:58 Prof. Kaminski discusses answers to Unit 4, Question 1: "How have the role and powers of the U.S. Supreme Court evolved since the founding period?"


    
Week 8: Unit 5, Question 1

John Kaminski's answers to Unit 5, Question 1:



Full Video

Unit 5, Question 1: "‘From their founding era until today, Americans have believed that the highest purpose of government is protection of the rights of the people to whom it is accountable. Commitment to ideals about rights to liberty and equality is the foundation of an American national identity.‘ What are bills of rights and how have they evolved?"

0:18 Historical background of the Bill of Rights

23:29 The creation of the Bill of Rights

39:54 Context of the Bill of Rights



About John P. KaminskiJohn Kaminski


Since 1969 John Kaminski has edited The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Twenty-nine volumes of this monumental work have been published to date. In 1981 he founded and still directs The Center for the Study of the American Constitution in the History Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has written dozens of articles and published another twenty-six books on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the federal judiciary, slavery, and the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Abigail Adams, the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Paine, and others.