An introduction to the main themes of the American Constitution—popular sovereignty, separation of powers, federalism, and rights.
This course offers an introduction to the U.S. Constitution and landmark Supreme Court cases interpreting it. It explores the Constitution’s origins, its amendment over the years, and methods of constitutional interpretation. Topics include the nature and structure of the federal government, the powers of the federal government, and individual rights.
The United States Constitution is a statement of America’s highest law and its deepest values. It is the document and the principles that make one nation and one people out of the several states. But where did it come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?
This course, which debuts on Constitution Day, explores those questions. It examines the Constitution’s origins, the problems the Framers confronted and the solutions they adopted. It follows the Constitution’s changes over the years, from the initial burst of amendments that brought us the Bill of Rights, through the bloody disruption of the Civil War, and into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It discusses landmark Supreme Court cases that show how the Framers’ ideas have fared in the modern world.
The course provides a broad overview of the Constitution, including both the structure and powers of the federal government and individual rights topics. Cases discussed include Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, Roe v. Wade, Korematsu v. United States, District of Columbia v. Heller, and NFIB v. Sibelius.