Key Constitutional Concepts By Leonore Annemore Annenberg Institute For Civics

644 Words3 Pages
The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics video titled “Key Constitutional Concepts” explores the history of the creation of the United States Constitution in addition to key concepts crucial to the document. Two central themes explored in the video include the protection of personal rights and importance of checks and balances. The video strives to explain these concepts through Supreme Court cases Gideon v. Wainwright and Youngstown v. Sawyer. To begin, the video retraces the steps leading up to the Constitutional Convention in Virginia in 1787. It opens by explaining the conflict that led to the Revolutionary War and the fragility of the new nation. I was fascinated to learn that the individual states viewed themselves as distinct nations. This unfortunately contributed to the incredibly weak Articles of Confederation. This first constitution of sorts aligned the nation states in a “league of friendship” rather than a country of states. The video explains that the founders were wary of creating a strong federal government lest it result in an absolute abuse of power by a central figure, much like the government they had just successfully…show more content…
Wainwright illustrated the importance of personal rights guaranteed by the constitution. This case began when Clarence Gideon was denied a court appointed lawyer to represent him in a petty crime case. Gideon, unable to afford his own lawyer, was unable to adequately defend himself and consequently was convicted. However, he was undeterred. Gideon then wrote a letter to the Supreme Court to overturn this conviction with the 6th Amendment as his evidence of the court’s misconduct. This landmark case affirmed that the 6th Amendment applies to all states under the 14th Amendment. Not only did the video show the importance of the amendments to the constitution, it also demonstrated the possible pitfalls of judicial review, but also its ability to ensure the personal rights provided by the constitution are not
Open Document