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Podcast Classroom Guide: State and federal constitutional amendments

In this podcast episode, hosts Anna Brown and Mike Dunbar discuss the process for amending the New Hampshire and federal constitutions, then dive into the debate over how often constitutions should change. Amendments are frequent in New Hampshire, and every ten years voters are asked if the state should hold a constitutional convention. That question will appear on the ballot again in 2022.


Podcast includes 10 minutes about the process for amending a constitution, 3 additional minutes of "fun facts" about the New Hampshire Constitution.

Key concepts/standards

  • SS:CV:8:2.1: Define the organization and responsibilities of federal government that are set forth in the New Hampshire Constitution, the United States Constitution and their amendments, e.g., Separation of Powers, Division of Powers, or the Bill of Rights. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement)
  • SS:CV:12:2.1: Describe how the fundamental ideals and principles of American government are incorporated in the United States Constitution and the New Hampshire Constitution, e.g., the rule of law or individual rights and responsibilities. (Themes: H: Individualism, Equality and Authority, I: Patterns of Social and Political Interaction, J: Human Expression and Communication)
  • SS:CV:12:2.2: Analyze the evolution of the United States Constitution as a living document, e.g., the Bill of Rights or Plessy v. Ferguson. (Themes: E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change, H: Individualism, Equality and Authority, I: Patterns of Social and Political Interaction)

Discussion questions

  • In general, do you think it’s better for a constitution to remain mostly unchanged, or to be frequently updated? What are some pros and cons to each position?
  • Why do we need a state constitution in New Hampshire if there is already a United States Constitution? What is the purpose of having a constitution at all?
  • How does the United States Constitution reflect fundamental principles and ideals of American government? Give some examples.
  • If you could make one amendment to the NH Constitution, what would it be? How about the U.S. Constitution?
  • What are some of the ways the NH Constitution can be changed? How does this differ from the United States Constitution?
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