Constitution 101: From the American Founding to the Modern Administrative State
 

THE PRINCIPLES OF LIBERTY set forth in the Declaration of Independence form the philosophical foundation of the American Constitution. For over a century, Progressivism has assaulted those principles, and modern bureaucratic rule has undermined constitutionalism. Led by members of the Hillsdale College faculty, this overview course will focus on primary sources to develop a deep understanding of America’s founding principles and constitutional history. Such an understanding is key to recovering limited government.

This 8-session lecture series on the Constitution, from the American Founding to the Modern Administrative State. This not-for-credit course, taught by Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs Matthew Spalding and Director of Academic Programs Paul Moreno, is modeled after Hillsdale College’s extremely popular online courses.

TO ENROLL Please e-mail con101@hillsdale.edu with your name, e-mail address, and mailing address.

 

READINGS BY SESSION


One  |  Two  |  Three  |  Four  |  Five  |  Six  |  Seven  |  Eight

 

Pre-Course Readings

The Declaration of Independence

The Articles of Confederation

The Northwest Ordinance

The Constitution of the United States of America

 

Session One

THE AMERICAN FOUNDING AND THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The Politics

Second Treatise on Government

Letter to the Hebrew Congregation

Letter to Henry Lee

The Farmer Refuted

Additional Readings:
English Bill of Rights
Nicomachean Ethics
Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Session Two

THE PRINCIPLES AND STRUCTURE OF THE CONSTITUTION

Letter Transmitting the Constitution

Federalist 9

Federalist 10

Federalist 52

Federalist 70

Federalist 78

Marbury v. Madison

Additional Readings:
Vices of the Political System of the United States
Federalist 57
Federalist 63

 

Session Three

CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICS IN THE EARLY REPUBLIC

Hamilton and Jefferson on the Bank

Excerpts from Hamilton’s Report on Manufacturers

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

Helvidius Pacificus Essays

Farewell Address

McCullough v. Maryland

 

Session Four

SLAVERY AND THE CRISIS OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT

Excerpts on Slavery

Speech on the Oregon Bill

Cornerstone Speech

First Inaugural Address

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Speech on the Dred Scott Decision

Address at Cooper Institute

Additional Readings:
Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII: Manners
Speech on Reception of Abolition Petitions
Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act
A House Divided

 

Session Five

ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE CIVIL WAR

First Inaugural Address

Message to Congress in Special Session

The Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Second Inaugural Address

 

Session Six

THE PROGRESSIVE REJECTION OF THE FOUNDING

The American Conception of Liberty

What is Progress?

Liberalism and Social Action

Socialism and Democracy

The President of the United States

Additional Readings:
New Nationalism

 

Session Seven

MODERN LIBERALISM AND THE RISE OF CONSERVATISM

Commonwealth Club Address

Annual Message to Congress

Remarks at the University of Michigan

Commencement Address at Howard University

First Inaugural Address

A Time for Choosing

 

Session Eight

RECOVERING THE CONSTITUTION

What Good’s a Constitution?

The Inspiration of the Declaration