Civics 101 Why does the U.S. have an Electoral College? How do congressional investigations work? What does the minority whip actually do? Civics 101 is the podcast refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works.
Civics 101

Civics 101

From New Hampshire Public Radio

Why does the U.S. have an Electoral College? How do congressional investigations work? What does the minority whip actually do? Civics 101 is the podcast refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works.More from Civics 101 »

Most Recent Episodes

Special Announcement: Upcoming Season

For our next season, we're going to tackle America's founding documents: Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers. Episode One will release on January 22nd, but don't hold back in the meantime! We want to hear your questions, comments and ideas. And if you're a teacher who has found a unique way to teach the founding documents, drop us a line! That email is civics101@nhpr.org.

Midterm Edition: Why Vote?

We've told you that midterm elections matter. But the truth is, midterms only matter to you — and you only matter to your legislators — if you show up at the polls. It's the first step in making yourself heard. And once you have, you mean that much more to the people who make our laws. In this episode, you'll hear what voting actually does for you and your demographic. Plus, how to make sure your voice is heard, whether you're eligible to vote or not. Our experts this time around are Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Edgar Salvidar and Peter Levine.

Midterm Edition: Propositions

Regardless of how you choose to vote on Prop 1, you'll finish this episode knowing all about ballot measures. These are bills and amendments initiated by the people, and voted into law by the people. What could possibly go wrong when we sidestep our famously pedantic legislature?? Today's episode features our eminently quotable teacher and former California Assemblymember Cheryl Cook-Kallio, political correspondent at KQED Guy Marzorati, and frequent initiative proposer Tim Eyman.

Midterm Edition: Campaigning

How do you stand out in a sea of lawn signs, or make yourself heard above the roar of a thousand ads? Campaigns are hard enough when the whole country is watching — so what does it take to get the vote when most people couldn't care less? That's the mystery of the midterm campaign. We asked some experts to help us solve it. In this episode, you'll hear from Inside Elections reporter Leah Askarinam, CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers, politics professor Barry Burden and state house candidate Maile Foster. Plus, Brady Carlson walks us through a midterm of revolutionary proportions.

Midterm Edition: House v Senate

Two houses, both alike in...well, many things. But oh so different in many others. We go from absolute basics to the philosophical differences that exist in the Legislative branch. This episode features the opinions of former staffers from both chambers, Political Science professors, and political analysts. Also, Brady Carlson tells the tale of the biggest loss in midterm history, and its relation to a federal holiday.

Midterm Edition: State and Local Elections

Midterm elections don't have the glitz or drama of presidential campaigning. They're full of aldermen and comptrollers, state senators and governors. These offices seem meager next to national government. But most of the time, it's state and local officials that have the most palpable impact on our lives and on our future elections. In episode two of our five-part series on the midterm elections, we're taking a good look at the state and local offices that have a big-time impact on your life.

Midterm Edition: 5 Things to Know about the Midterms

Today we launch our five-part series on the midterm elections! Keith Hughes, creator of Hip History, tells us the five things he thinks every American should know about midterms and why they matter. Each episode in this series concludes with a snapshot of an historic US Midterm election, delivered by Brady Carlson. Today, it's 1826: Good Feelings and Hard Feelings.

Special Announcement and IRL2 rebroadcast

First off, our next season of Civics 101 will launch this October with a special miniseries on the midterm elections. Each episode will better educate you on what you're voting for in November (you are voting, right? Even if you can't yet, we've got some stuff for you) and each will include a breakdown of the wide-ranging effects of a historic US midterm. Second, this is a rebroadcast of IRL2, our episode on the history of the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance, focusing on times the use (or lack thereof) of these icons challenged the 1st Amendment.

IRL1: Free Speech in Schools [Rebroadcast]

A rebroadcast to get ready for the school year: we're digging into four incredibly important Supreme Court cases - four cases that have shaped how we interpret the meaning of free speech in public schools. Is political protest allowed in class? Is lewd speech covered by the First Amendment? Can school administrators determine what students can and can't say in the school newspaper? Listen in, and find out how students and schools have gone head to head over how First Amendment rights apply in a public school setting.

The Death Penalty

On today's episode we're looking into a practice that sets the U.S. aside from all other Western countries: Capital Punishment. So, is the death penalty a part of the constitution? How has the Supreme Court ruled on the issue? And ultimately, what can we learn about ourselves from the practice? Our guest today is Carol Steiker, Harvard Law Professor and author of Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.

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