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Jun 14, 2017

Show 1841 Part 2 of 10. Constitution 101. The Meaning and History of the Constitution.

Note from ACU- We have started this course with lecture 2. Lecture 1 is a bit slow. We did not want it to deter listeners from the rest of this very fine course on the Constitution. We have included lecture 1 at the end of this series

This show was originally published as ACU Show 825 and is here republished.

For this free online course with video lectures, reading materials, study guide, quiz and Certificate of Completion visit-

https://online.hillsdale.edu/course/con101/schedule

 

Part 2 of 10 The Declaration of Independence

Overview

The soul of the American founding is located in the enduring political principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence. The meaning of these principles, especially equality, is decisively different than the definition given to those principles by modern progressivism.

Equality means that nature ordains no one to be the ruler of any other person. Each human being is also equal in his natural rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are inalienable and possessed simply by virtue of being human.

Equality, liberty, and natural rights require that legitimate government be republican. The truth that all human beings are born free, equal, and independent means that a just government must be based on the consent of the governed—a consent which must be expressed through ongoing elections. The political theory of the Declaration of Independence requires that government secure the natural rights of the citizens through adopting and enforcing criminal laws; adopting and enforcing civil laws regarding property, family, education, and provision for the poor; and providing for national defense.

If the regime fails to operate according to these principles, the people have a right and duty to alter or abolish the government and establish a new government which will secure rights through the consent of the governed.

The people thus play a vital role in protecting their rights. They must be educated in “religion, morality, and knowledge.” A people that is not virtuous will not be able to perpetuate free government.

Modern liberalism uses the same language of “equality” as the Declaration of Independence. Yet modern liberals mean something altogether different than what the Founders meant by those words. For the Progressives, “equality” means that government must redistribute wealth to provide equal access to resources. This idea necessitates government programs that help mankind liberate itself from its “natural limitations.”

The Declaration of Independence and modern Progressivism are fundamentally opposed to each other. The modern misunderstanding of “equality” threatens the whole of the American constitutional and moral order.

Thomas G. West is the Paul and Dawn Potter Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College, where he has taught since 2011. Dr. West teaches courses in American politics, with a focus on the U.S. Constitution, civil rights, foreign policy, and the political thought of the American founding. He also teaches courses in political philosophy, with particular emphasis on Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke.

Prior to joining the faculty at Hillsdale, Dr. West was Professor of Politics at the University of Dallas, where he taught from 1974 to 2011. Formerly a visiting scholar at the Heritage Foundation and at Claremont McKenna College, Dr. West is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, where he teaches in the Institute’s Publius and Lincoln Fellows summer programs. He is the author of the best-selling Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America, and co-translator of Four Texts on Socrates: Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, and Aristophanes’ Clouds, of which there are more than 180,000 copies in print. He received his B.A. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate University.

About the Course Constitution 101

“Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution” is a free 10-week 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:

  • watch lectures from the same Hillsdale faculty who teach on campus;
  • study the same readings taught in the College course;
  • submit questions for weekly Q&A sessions with the faculty;
  • access a course study guide;
  • test your knowledge through weekly quizzes; and
  • upon completion of the course, receive a certificate from Hillsdale College.

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.

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 Hillsdale College Free Online Courses-

https://www.hillsdale.edu/academics/free-online-courses/

 

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 Related ACU Shows-

Show 821 Part 1 and 2 of 5. Introduction to the Constitution Lecture Series

https://acu.libsyn.com/show-introduction-to-the-constitution-lecture-series-

 

Show 822 Part 3 and 4 of 5. Introduction to the Constitution Lecture Series

https://acu.libsyn.com/show-part-3-and-4-of-5-introduction-to-the-constitution-lecture-series-

 

Show 823 Part 5 of 5. Introduction to the Constitution Lecture Series

https://acu.libsyn.com/show-part-5-of-5-introduction-to-the-constitution-lecture-series-

 

Related Hillsdale Course- Constitution 201

https://soundcloud.com/hillsdale-college/sets/constitution-201

 

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 Hillsdale College Course Catalog

https://online.hillsdale.edu/dashboard/courses

 

Course Catalog

Questions about the Courses? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

 

Introduction to the ConstitutionAvailable 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.

 

Theology 101: The Western Theological Tradition

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.

American Heritage—From Colonial Settlement to the Current Day

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.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court

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.

 

Shakespeare: Hamlet and The Tempest

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.

 

Public Policy from a Constitutional Viewpoint

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.

 

Athens and Sparta

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.

 

An Introduction to C.S. Lewis: Writings and Significance

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 and Statesmanship

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.

 

The Federalist Papers

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.

 

A Proper Understanding of K-12 Education: Theory and Practice

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.

The Presidency and the Constitution

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.

Great Books 102: Renaissance to Modern

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. 

Constitution 101: The Meaning & History of the Constitution

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.

Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval

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. 

Economics 101: The Principles of Free Market Economics

 

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.

History 101: Western Heritage, From the Book of Genesis to John Locke

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.

Constitution 201: The Progressive Rejection of the Founding & the Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism

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

Hillsdale Dialogues: A Survey of Great Books, Great Men, and Great Ideas
Weekly series featuring Hillsdale President Larry Arnn, national radio host Hugh Hewitt, and members of the Hillsdale College faculty.

Kirby Center Lectures Archive
Hillsdale College's Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

Hillsdale College on YouTube

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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.

Visit- https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/


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