(1987– )

Episode List


Season 1

Illustrates how powers are divided and shared between the state and federal governments. Bill Moyers examines the effect of the Civil War, the Depression, and the civil rights movement on the balance of governmental powers. The dramatic segment shows how the division of power between the states and the national government affects citizens' daily lives.
Separation of Powers with Checks and Balances
Shows why the Founding Fathers created three branches of government that cooperate and contend with one another. Bill Moyers discusses how separation of powers with checks and balances has historically functioned, especially in times of crisis. The dramatic segment illuminates the complex interactions of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.
Freedom of Expression
Focuses on how this constitutional right raises questions about the liberty of one person versus the security of all. Bill Moyers discusses the Sedition Act of 1798, the Espionage Act of 1917, and the Smith Act. The dramatic segment considers the constitutional right to free speech and legitimate governmental limits on it.
Equal Protection of the Laws
Discusses the growth of equality under law, from its beginning to modern-day affirmative action. Bill Moyers focuses on the Supreme Court's role, using the Fourteenth Amendment to show that the meaning of a law may hinge on that body's interpretation of it. The dramatic segment examines the issue of age discrimination in employment and employers' rights to hire whoever they feel is best for business.
The Constitution and the Economy
Studies how the Constitution gives the national government power to regulate the economy and to provide for the general welfare. Bill Moyers traces the steady increase of this power and the issue of how much economic power the federal government should exert, from the separate visions of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to modern governmental deregulation. The dramatic segment demonstrates an issue about government regulation of private business.

 Season 1 

See also

Episode Cast | Rated Episodes (by date / vote)| TV Schedule

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