Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution

"Modern Conservatism and the Constitution"

Overview

The principles of the American Founding, stated most eloquently and concisely in the Declaration of Independence, must be studied and firmly grasped if we are to return to the constitutionalism of the Founding. In turn, this means that the virtues must be developed in the citizenry. The development of these virtues cannot be coerced, since coercion runs contrary to the nature of virtue itself.

Both education and religion are indispensable for maintaining a free society. Likewise, the manner in which they are supported by government is also important. The Founders provide clear examples of the necessary means by which the ends stated in both the Declaration and the Constitution can be achieved. In order to restore American constitutionalism, the proper ends of government—as understood by the Founders—must be reestablished.

Lecture

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Readings

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important that government support education, and in what manner?
  2. Should the government be involved in supporting religion? Why or why not?
  3. What is statesmanship and how is it developed?

Q & A Session

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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, Winston Churchill and 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.