'This Week' Transcript: The Battle for the Constitution

LEPORE: Benjamin Franklin's sister, Jean, who on July 4th in 1786, the 10th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, thinking back on what the revolution had accomplished, wrote her brother a letter. She had been reading Richard Price, the English philosopher, political philosopher, and she said, you know, I think what I've realized is that in this world, there are very few people who are able to break through the barriers of poverty and ignorance. There are people, there are Isaac Newtons all over the world that we'll never hear from.

She I think represents the great lesson of the promise of the revolutionary era.

DYSON: I would have to say Thomas Jefferson. I mean, in his life, the genius of self-individualized (ph) expression. The incredible contributions of the Declaration of Independence, though he didn't want it to be in any way revised. Redactors prevailed. His commitment to the flourishing of democracy, despite his own individual flaws, and I think the beauty of his being tethered to Sally Hemmings, is at the end of the day, after all the ink, and the parchment, and the abstract discourse, it's about flesh, it's about engagement, it's about the lived realities. And Sally Hemmings' flesh and her lived reality are in part responsible for us understanding the arc and the beauty and the luminous intensity of the documents we have and the contradictions we must live with in order to realize them. So I think Thomas Jefferson.

WILL: The framer who towers over all the rest is Little Thomas, little James Madison. Someone said of him never so much a high ratio of mind to mass. And the argument we're having today is whether James Madison, of the Princeton class of 1771, can save the Constitution from Woodrow Wilson of the Princeton class of 1879 and the progressive movement. It's an intramural argument at Princeton.

AMANPOUR: Thank you all so much. That was very enlightening. And up next, will the melting pot boil over? Grappling with the immigrant experience as demographics change and politics struggle to keep up.


AMANPOUR: They are words that every American and many immigrants know by heart, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Those lines inscribed on the Statue of Liberty greeted new immigrants at the dawn of the last century, and now the conversation has changed, and so has this melting-pot nation.

Today's newcomers are not being welcomed with open arms. The new immigration wave presents unforeseen challenges but also unexpected opportunities.

And joining me to discuss the way forward, George Will, Michelle Rhee, the former D.C. schools chancellor and founder of the group Students First. She is a first-generation American. Mel Martinez, the former Florida senator and one-time chairman of the Republican National Committee. He emigrated from Cuba as a boy. And Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for The Washington Post who recently published an article acknowledging that he's an illegal immigrant.

Thank you all for being with me today.

Let me go to you first. About two weeks ago you've written this article basically coming out as an illegal. What were you trying to accomplish?

I mean, it's a pretty risky strategy.

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