Jun 14, 2017
Show 1833 Part 10 of 10. Constitution 101. The Meaning and History of the Constitution.
This show was originally published as ACU Show 833 and is here republished.
For this free online course with video lectures, reading materials, study guide, quiz and Certificate of Completion visit-
“Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution” is a free 10 part online course presented by Hillsdale College.
Featuring an expanded format from the “Introduction to the Constitution” lecture series with Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn, Constitution 101 follows closely the one-semester course required of all Hillsdale College undergraduate students.
In this course, you can:
You must register in order to participate in Constitution 101. Even if you have already signed up for a previous Hillsdale webcast or seminar, we ask that you complete the simple registration process for Constitution 101. There is no cost to register for this course, but we ask that you consider a donation to support our efforts to educate millions of Americans about our nation’s Founding documents and principles.
Welcome to Week 10
“The Recovery of the Constitution”
Statesmanship, for Franklin D. Roosevelt, entailed the “redefinition” of “rights in terms of a changing and growing social order.” Fulfilling the promise of Progressivism, President Roosevelt’s New Deal gave rise to unlimited government. In contrast to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his ideological successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan sought the restoration of limited government. Today, our choice is clear: Will we live by the principles of the American Founding, or by the values of the Progressives?
Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his campaign for the presidency in 1932 by emphasizing the Progressive understanding of history and by calling for the “redefinition” of the old idea of rights. His “New Deal,” a series of economic programs ostensibly aimed at extricating America from the Great Depression, vastly enlarged the size and scope of the federal government. Unelected bureaucratic agencies—“the administrative state”—became a fact of American life.
Roosevelt’s call for a “Second Bill of Rights” sought to add “security” to the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Describing the “old rights” of life and liberty as “inadequate” without underlying economic security, Roosevelt called for new economic rights for all, including the right to a job, a home, a fair wage, education, and medical care. With these rights guaranteed, Roosevelt argued, real political equality finally could be achieved.
Following President Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” and Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” continued the transformation of the relationship between the American people and their government. President Johnson redefined the government’s role by redefining equality itself: equality must be a “result” rather than a “right.” Expanded federal control over education, transportation, welfare, and medical care soon followed.
Announcing that “with the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” Ronald Reagan appealed to the principles of the American Founding in seeking to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Maintaining that Progressivism and the consent of the governed are incompatible, Reagan called for a return to individual self-rule and national self-government.
About the Lecturer:
Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. Under Dr. Arnn’s leadership since May of 2000, Hillsdale College has conducted the $608 million Founders Campaign for capital and endowment goals, launched the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship (located in Washington, D.C.), expanded the core curriculum to include a required course on the U.S. Constitution, and established an Honor Code that all matriculates to the College sign. As a professor of politics and history at Hillsdale, Dr. Arnn regularly teaches courses on Aristotle, on Winston Churchill and on the American Constitution.
Dr. Arnn is on the board of directors of The Heritage Foundation and the Claremont Institute. From 1985 to 2000, he served as President of the Claremont Institute. Formerly the director of research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill, Dr. Arnn is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education and The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What we Risk by Losing It. He received his B.A. at Arkansas State University, graduating with highest distinction, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School.
Hillsdale College Free Online Courses-
Related ACU Shows-
Show 821 Part 1 and 2 of 5. Introduction to the Constitution Lecture Series
Show 822 Part 3 and 4 of 5. Introduction to the Constitution Lecture Series
Show 823 Part 5 of 5. Introduction to the Constitution Lecture Series
Related Hillsdale Course- Constitution 201
Hillsdale College Course Catalog
Questions about the Courses? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Introduction to the Constitution—Available Now!
This twelve-lesson course explains the principles underlying the American founding as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and secured by the Constitution. The Founders believed that the principles in these documents 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 through ordered liberty.
The Western theological tradition stretches back thousands of years to the time of the ancient Hebrews. This tradition has had a profound impact on the development of Western Civilization as a whole. This course will consider the origins and development of Western religious theology from the Old Testament through the twentieth century.
On July 4, 1776, America—acting under the authority of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”—declared its independence from Great Britain. The new nation, founded on the principle that “all Men are created equal,” eventually grew to become the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world. This course will consider the history of America from the colonial era to the present, including major challenges to the Founders’ principles.
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.
One of the world’s greatest poets, William Shakespeare is the author of plays that have been read and performed for more than 400 years. A close study of his works reveals timeless lessons about human nature, which offer a mirror for examining one’s own character. In Hamlet and The Tempest, Shakespeare considers those virtues and vices that make self-government and statesmanship possible or impossible to achieve.
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.
A study of the ancient Greek cities of Athens and Sparta is essential for understanding the beginning of the story of Western Civilization. Moreover, such a study reveals timeless truths about the human condition that are applicable in any age. This course will consider life and government in Athens and Sparta, examine their respective roles in the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, and offer some conclusions regarding their continuing relevance.
C.S. Lewis was the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century. He was also the author of works of fiction, including the Chronicles of Narnia, and of philosophy, including The Abolition of Man. This course will consider Lewis’s apologetics and his fiction, as well as his philosophical and literary writings, and their continuing significance today.
Winston Churchill was the greatest statesman of the 20th century, and one of the greatest in all of history. From a young age, Churchill understood the unique dangers of modern warfare, and he worked to respond to them. Though best known for his leadership during World War II, he was also a great defender of constitutionalism. A close study of Churchill’s words and deeds offers timeless lessons about the virtues, especially prudence, required for great statesmanship.
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 penname 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 American Founders recognized the central importance of education for the inculcation of the kind of knowledge and character that is essential to the maintenance of free government. For example, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” This course will consider the older understanding of the purpose of education, the more recent Progressive approach that has become dominant today, and some essential elements of K-12 education.
This free, 10-week, not-for-credit 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.
This 11-week, not-for-credit course, taught by Hillsdale College faculty, will introduce you to great books from the Renaissance through the modern era. You will explore the writings of Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Austen, Twain, and more. This course will challenge you to seek timeless lessons regarding human nature, virtue, self-government, and liberty in the pages of the great books.
Taught by the Hillsdale College Politics faculty, this course will introduce you to the meaning and history of the United States Constitution. The course will examine a number of original source documents from the Founding period, including especially the Declaration of Independence and The Federalist Papers. The course will also consider two significant challenges to the Founders’ Constitution: the institution of slavery and the rise of Progressivism.
This 11-week, not-for-credit course, taught by Hillsdale College faculty, will introduce you to great books from antiquity to the medieval period. You will explore the writings of Homer, St. Augustine, Dante, and more. This course will challenge you to seek timeless lessons regarding human nature, virtue, self-government, and liberty in the pages of the great books.
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With introductory and concluding lectures by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the eight lectures at its core—taught by Gary Wolfram, the William E. Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College—will focus on the foundational principles of the free market. Topics will include the relationship of supply and demand, the “information problem” behind the failure of central planning, the rise of macroeconomics under the influence of John Maynard Keynes, and the 2008 financial crisis.
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With an introductory lecture by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the nine lectures—by members of Hillsdale College's history department faculty—will focus on key aspects of the beginning of Western civilization and its Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian heritage.
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With introductory and concluding lectures by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the nine lectures—taught by members of Hillsdale College's politics department faculty—are a continuation of Constitution 101 (2012): The Meaning & History of the Constitution. These lectures will focus on the importance of the principles of the American Founding and the current assault on them by the Progressives.
Other Lectures and Programs
Dialogues: A Survey of Great Books, Great Men, and Great
Weekly series featuring Hillsdale President Larry Arnn, national radio host Hugh Hewitt, and members of the Hillsdale College faculty.
Hillsdale College's Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.
Imprimis is the free monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College. The content of Imprimis is drawn from speeches delivered to Hillsdale College-hosted events. First published in 1972, Imprimis is one of the most widely circulated opinion publications in the nation with over 3.6 million subscribers.