CONSTITUTION 101: THE MEANING AND HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION - COURSE / 12 LECTURES The Constitution established a limited government, but a government with sufficient powers to protect Americans’ God-given rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This course examines the design and purpose of the Constitution, the challenges it faced during the Civil War, how it has been undermined for over a century by progressivism and post-1960s liberalism, and how limited government under the Constitution might be revived.
CONGRESS: HOW IT WORKED AND WHY IT DOESN’T - COURSE / 11 LECTURES The Framers of the Constitution institutionalized the legislative power in Article I, which grants limited powers to a bicameral Congress, with the aim of securing the rights of American citizens. In the early 20th century, Progressives introduced new conceptions of Congress and the legislative power, which resulted in a massive and ongoing transfer of legislative authority to unaccountable bureaucratic agencies. This course explores the Founders’ understanding of the legislative power and how Congress should work, the Progressive rejection of that understanding, and how that rejection has affected American politics.
INTRODUCTION TO THE CONSTITUTION - COURSE / 12 LECTURES The American Founders believed that the principles of the Declaration and the Constitution were not simply preferences for their own day, but were truths that the sovereign and moral people of America could always rely on as guides in their pursuit of happiness. This course considers the principles of the American Founding—which are described most famously and concisely in the Declaration of Independence—as well as key features of American government based on those principles. Led by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the course also examines the major challenges posed by Progressivism to American constitutionalism.
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT - COURSE / 10 LECTURES Article III of the U.S. Constitution vests the judicial power “in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” According to Federalist 78, the judicial branch “will always be the least dangerous” to the liberty of the American people. Yet, judicial decisions have done much to advance a Progressive agenda that poses a fundamental threat to liberty. This course will consider several landmark Supreme Court cases in relation to the founders’ Constitution.
PUBLIC POLICY FROM A CONSTITUTIONAL VIEWPOINT - COURSE / 12 LECTURES The American Founders wrote a Constitution that established a government limited in size and scope, whose central purpose was to secure the natural rights of all Americans. By contrast, early Progressives rejected the notion of fixed limits on government, and their political descendants continue today to seek an ever-larger role for the federal bureaucracy in American life. In light of this fundamental and ongoing disagreement over the purpose of government, this course will consider contemporary public policy issues from a constitutional viewpoint.
THE FEDERALIST PAPERS - COURSE / 10 LECTURES Written between October 1787 and August 1788, The Federalist Papers is a collection of newspaper essays written in defense of the Constitution. Writing under the pen name Publius, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay explain the merits of the proposed Constitution, while confronting objections raised by its opponents. Thomas Jefferson described the work as “the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.” This course will explore major themes of The Federalist Papers, such as the problem of majority faction, separation of powers, and the three branches of government.
THE PRESIDENCY AND THE CONSTITUTION - COURSE / 10 LECTURES This course, taught by the Hillsdale College politics faculty, will help you understand the structure and function of executive power in the American constitutional order. The course begins with the place of the president in the constitutionalism of the Founding Fathers and examines how that role has changed with the rise of the modern Progressive administrative state.
CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY - COURSE / 9 LECTURES In 1776, America was founded on the principle that “all men are created equal.” This course examines the Founders’ understanding of equality, natural rights, and civil rights; the quest for justice in America through the Civil War, during Reconstruction, and in the 20th century; and the danger posed to freedom and civil rights today by identity politics.