Constitution 201

“Restoring Constitutional Government”


The past century has witnessed a transformation in the understanding of the purposes of American government.   The political, academic, and media consensus today upholds the necessity and legitimacy of the Progressive project, making a return to the principles of the Founders appear difficult, if not impossible.  However, the resonance among voters of appeals made to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution by Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan highlights the enduring character of those self-evident truths upon which the Founders built the American political order.



Note: all readings link to Hillsdale's online Constitution Reader, also available at


  1. Calvin Coolidge - "The Inspiration of the Declaration"
  2. Ronald Reagan - "First Inaugural Address"


  1. Winston Churchill - "What Good's a Constitution?"
  2. Ronald Reagan - "A Time for Choosing"

Download a PDF of the Week Ten supplementary readings.

Download a PDF of "What Good's a Constitution?"

Q & A Session

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Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, where he is also a professor of politics and history. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He also studied at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 to 2000, he served as president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He serves on several boards of directors, and he previously served on the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors for two years for which he earned the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2015, he received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. A member of numerous organizations including the Churchill Centre, he is the author of three books: Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It; and, most recently, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.