The United States Constitution has been in force since 1789, making it the world's longest surviving written charter of government. During this time, our government has grown and changed considerably. This course has three main units. The first explores the historical background and asks what problems the Constitution was intended to address, focusing on the Federalist Papers. The second unit looks at the structure of the Constitution itself. The third unit examines how the principles of the Constitution were applied by rival political thinkers leading up to and during the Civil War. In each unit, students will be assigned to study a historical character in depth.
Instructor: Karl Oles
Starts: September 5, 2023
Ends: June 1, 2024
Friday 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET
Study of the Constitution in its historical context presumes that the student has a basic understanding of American history and has experience in the review and interpretation of historical documents.
Textbooks and Materials
This item is required:Constitution of the United States of America. [Edition or Version: 1], Authors: James Madison et al.
Publisher's website: Constitution of the United States of America.
Best sources: www.usconstitution.net/xconst.html
Other information: Obviously this text is widely available, including many full-text online versions, one of which is linked here. Any version will serve, so long as the student can refer to it easily. Annotated versions, in any form, are welcome but not required. See course description for further details on course materials.
This item is required:The Federalist [Edition or Version: 1], Authors: Alexander Hamilton, et al.
Publisher's website: The Federalist
Best sources: https://guides.loc.gov/federalist-papers/full-text
Other information: Many editions are available in print and online. Make sure you get the full text.
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