Segments in this Video

Words that Built America (00:54)


The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights founded our country. On July 4, 1776 delegates signed a document which declared the nation as 13 independent sovereign states no longer under the rule of King George III. This program will provide unedited readings of the three documents that built America.

Declaration of Independence: Part One (07:13)

Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Bacon, Samuel Jackson, Julia Louise Dreyfuss, Anderson Cooper, America Ferrera, Kerry Washington, and other actors and media figures recite the introduction, preamble and indictment portions of the document.

Declaration of Independence: Part Two (02:07)

Vincent Vaughn, Caitlyn Jenner, the Rock, and other actors and media figures recite the denunciation and conclusion of the document.

United States Constitution: Introduction (00:51)

The Revolutionary War lasted over eight years. The founding fathers created the Constitution in 1787. President George H. W. Bush recites the preamble of the Constitution.

United States Constitution: Legislative Branch (02:24)

Congresspersons Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Joe Kennedy, Kevin McCarthy, Joe Crowley, Joaquin Castro, and Nancy Pelosi recite a portion of Article One. Sections one and two establish the manner of election and the qualifications for the House of Representatives.

United States Constitution: Senate (04:42)

Senators Mitch McConnell, Tim Kaine, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, John Tester, Todd Young, John Barasso, Tammy Duckworth, Tom Carper, Roy Blunt, Susan Collins recite a portion of Article One. Former Vice- Presidents Walter Mondale and Dan Quayle enumerate the role of the vice president in the senate. Sections three through six establish the manner of election and the qualifications for Congress.

United States Constitution: Bills (02:03)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chuck Grassley, Ed Markey, Bob Corker, Richard Shelby, Rob Portman, Roger Wicker, Deb Fischer, Claire McCaskill recite a portion of Article One. Section seven describes how bills become law.

United States Constitution: Powers of Congress (03:06)

Senators Ted Cruz, Chris Van Hollen, Amy Klobuchar, John Boozeman, Shelly Moore Capito, John McCain, John Hoeven, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Al Franken recite a portion of Article One. Section eight establishes the powers delegated to the legislature.

United States Constitution: Section Nine (03:05)

Senators Lamar Alexander, Ben Cardin, Patrick Leahy, Pat Roberts, Elizabeth Warren, Lindsay Graham, Jack Reed, Kamala Harris, and Dick Durbin recite portions of Article One. Section nine describes the limitations of the legislature.

United States Constitution: Executive Branch (07:24)

Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and William Clinton and Vice Presidents Mike Pence, Al Gore, Joe Biden, and Dick Cheney recite portions of article two. General Colin Powell and John Kerry contribute to section two. Article Two describes the office, qualifications and duties of presidents and vice presidents.

United States Constitution: the Judiciary (02:42)

Justices John G. Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy recite section one and two. Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and Donald Rumsfeld enumerate section three. Article Three describes the court system.

United States Constitution: The States (02:16)

Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, John Hickenlooper, John Kasich, Terry McAuliffe, and Brian Sandoval recite Article Four, which outlines state relations between other states and the federal government.

United States Constitution: Amendments (01:03)

Senators Debbie Stabenow, Tim Scott, Patty Murray, and Catherine Cortez Masto recite Article Five, which outlines the process to amend the U.S. Constitution.

United States Constitution: Debts, Supremacy, and Oaths (01:05)

Senators Angus King, Jeff Flake, and Chuck Schumer recite Article Six, which establishes the Constitution and subsequent laws and treaties supreme law of the land.

United States Constitution: Ratifying (00:45)

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley recites Article Seven.

Bill of Rights (04:19)

In 1789, the founding fathers ratified ten amendments that granted civil rights to U.S. citizens. Students from the United Nation's International School recite the original document. Since then, further amendments were added to abolish slavery and incorporate women's rights.

Credits: Words that Built America (01:30)

Credits: Words that Built America

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The Words That Built America

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $199.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $299.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



The Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution and The Bill of Rights represent much more than the words used by America’s Founding Fathers to define a fragile, nascent country. They’re the living, breathing realization of America’s democratic ideal, the bedrock of a society that its people have built over nearly two-and-a-half centuries, and they provide a blueprint that is, was and will be a template for democracy around the world. To celebrate these iconic documents on our nation’s birthday, HBO presents a 45-minute special, directed by Alexandra Pelosi and narrated by David McCullough (John Adams), in which dozens of Americans – from actors and media personalities, to politicians, lawmakers and presidents, to schoolchildren whose future is being shaped by our shared past – read the three founding documents that define our outlook on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: BVL139932

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.