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.
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One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight
The Declaration of Independence
The Articles of Confederation
The Northwest Ordinance
The Constitution of the United States of America
Second Treatise on Government
Letter to the Hebrew Congregation
Letter to Henry Lee
The Farmer Refuted
Additional Readings:English Bill of RightsNicomachean EthicsVirginia Declaration of Rights
Letter Transmitting the Constitution
Marbury v. Madison
Additional Readings:Vices of the Political System of the United StatesFederalist 57Federalist 63
Hamilton and Jefferson on the Bank
Excerpts from Hamilton’s Report on Manufacturers
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
Helvidius Pacificus Essays
McCullough v. Maryland
Excerpts on Slavery
Speech on the Oregon Bill
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: MannersSpeech on Reception of Abolition PetitionsSpeech on the Kansas-Nebraska ActA House Divided
First Inaugural Address
Message to Congress in Special Session
The Emancipation Proclamation
Second Inaugural Address
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
Commonwealth Club Address
Annual Message to Congress
Remarks at the University of Michigan
Commencement Address at Howard University
A Time for Choosing
What Good’s a Constitution?
The Inspiration of the Declaration
Matthew Spalding is Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for Hillsdale College in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Hillsdale, he was Vice President of American Studies at The Heritage Foundation and founding director of its B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics. Dr. Spalding received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School.
Paul D. Moreno holds the William and Berniece Grewcock Chair in Constitutional History at Hillsdale College and is the director of academic programs at the College’s Kirby Center. He received his B.A. from the State University of New York and his M.A. and Ph.D. in history at the University of Maryland. In addition to teaching at Hillsdale for thirteen years, he has held visiting professorships at Princeton University and the University of Paris School of Law.
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