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The United States Constitution, set over a blue background, with its text fading into existence.

Principles of the Constitution

Take a quick trip back to the founding era to learn about the roots of representative government, limited government, separation of powers, and the many compromises that led to our Constitution. What is the distinction between a republic and a democracy? This exploration lays the groundwork for rich dialogues on government power, the ongoing tension between state and national power, and American democratic values in action, both now and over time.

Podcasts & Videos

Major Issues of the Philadelphia Convention, Separation of Power: Principles of the Constitution, Part 2

  1. Watch and listen to the 60-Second Civics video below. If you'd like, you can also read along using the script that appears below the quiz. Or you can turn on the video's subtitles and read while watching the video.
  2. Take the Daily Civics Quiz. If you get the question wrong, watch the video again or read the script and try again.
Episode Description
Dr. Donna Phillips: Welcome to 60-Second Civics, the daily podcast of the Center for Civic Education. I'm Donna Phillips. Today we continue our series on principles of the Constitution as part of our Civil Discourse, An American Legacy Project. We are joined by special guest Dr. Lester Brooks, American history professor emeritus from an Arundel Community College. Welcome, Dr. Brooks.

Dr. Lester Brooks: Thank you.

Dr. Donna Phillips: Dr. Brooks, what were the major issues of the Philadelphia Convention?

Dr. Lester Brooks: One key issue was the introduction of two plans of government to the delegates of Philadelphia. One plan, drafted primarily by James Madison, was the Virginia Plan. A second plan drafted by William Patterson was the New Jersey plan. And the delegates would have to discuss these two plans. Another key issue would be the separation of powers. And instead of a unicameral legislature, as provided by the Articles of Confederation, there would be the separation of powers, a bicameral legislature.

Also, there would be an executive branch, legislative branch, and a judicial branch of government. So these two were key issues that are going to take a lot of discussion by the delegates at Philadelphia.

Dr. Donna Phillips: Great. Thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Brooks. That's all for today's podcast. 60-Second Civics, where civic education only takes a minute.

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