Tuesday, July 4 at 7 PM ET/PT on HBO
The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights are the words that built this country. Written by America’s founding fathers, they provide a blueprint for our democracy.
Celebrating Independence Day, THE WORDS THAT BUILT AMERICA is an unabridged reading of the authentic words of our founding fathers. Director-producer Alexandra Pelosi brings together more than 100 readers, including all the living presidents and vice presidents, as well as Supreme Court justices, Cabinet secretaries and the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, along with a wide array of celebrities, leading media figures and young people to read these iconic documents. The special is narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough (“John Adams”).
“When you hear the words of our founding fathers read by such an illustrious group of people, it serves as a potent reminder of the dreams that launched this democracy,” says Sheila Nevins, president, HBO Documentary Films. HBO is making this special program widely available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW and HBO GO, and through streaming partners.
Readers include a range of Americans from across the political spectrum. The Declaration of Independence is read by actors and media figures. The U.S. Constitution is read by presidents and vice presidents, Supreme Court justices, U.S. senators, governors and other American political figures. The Bill of Rights is read by middle-school students.
The full list of readers includes (alphabetically):
The Declaration of Independence
Kevin Bacon, Jack Black, Tucker Carlson, Common, Anderson Cooper, Bryan Cranston, Robert De Niro, Laura Dern, Robert Duvall, America Ferrera, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hannity, Neil Patrick Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Caitlyn Jenner, Dwayne Johnson, Toby Keith, Megyn Kelly, Kid Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Yo-Yo Ma, Peggy Noonan, Rosie O’Donnell, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Vince Vaughn, Kerry Washington, Fareed Zakaria. The U.S. Constitution
Presidents: George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump.
Vice Presidents: Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Walter Mondale, Mike Pence, Dan Quayle.
Supreme Court Justices: Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts.
U.S. Senators: Lamar Alexander, Tammy Baldwin, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Shelley Moore Capito, Ben Cardin, Tom Carper, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Ted Cruz, Tammy Duckworth, Dick Durbin, Deb Fischer, Jeff Flake, Al Franken, Cory Gardner, Kirsten Gillibrand, Lindsey Graham, Charles Grassley, Kamala Harris, John Hoeven, Tim Kaine, Angus King, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy, Ed Markey, Catherine Cortez Masto, John McCain, Claire McCaskill, Mitch McConnell, Chris Murphy, Patty Murray, Rob Portman, Jack Reed, Pat Roberts, Chuck Schumer, Tim Scott, Richard Shelby, Debbie Stabenow, Luther Strange, Jon Tester, John Thune, Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren, Roger Wicker, Ron Wyden, Todd Young.
Congressmen and Congresswomen: Joaquin Castro, Joe Crowley, Joe Kennedy, John Lewis, Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Paul Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Maxine Waters.
Governors: Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo, John Hickenlooper, John Kasich, Terry McAuliffe, Brian Sandoval. Cabinet Secretaries: Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld.
Ambassador: Nikki Haley
The Bill of Rights
Middle-school students from the United Nations International School.