When I set out to do a podcast about the Constitution, I struggled at first to figure out how to bring such a complex document into an accessible audio form – one that would animate people across age groups and backgrounds to engage with the laws and governing principles that shape their lives in this country.
Ultimately, I found that the best way to do that was to tell the Constitution’s human stories. Of course there are the framers who drafted it over a hot summer in Philadelphia in 1787. But, there are thousands of others who are just as integral.
Even as important and inspiring are the abolitionists and suffragists, the prisoners and the Supreme Court justices – all those who over time have ushered in evolutions in Americans’ rights, whether through new constitutional amendments or reinterpretations of its original principles.
The framers designed the Constitution to be elastic, so ultimately I found that “bringing it to life today” was just a matter of showing how alive the document has been throughout the nation’s history.
Lillian Cunningham is the creator and host of ‘Constitutional.’ She was previously a feature writer for and editor of The Washington Post’s Emmy-winning section, On Leadership.