Constitution 201

“Woodrow Wilson and the Rejection of the Founders’ Principles”


Progressives believe that America needs to move beyond the principles of the Founding.  Woodrow Wilson—who served as president of Princeton University, governor of New Jersey, and as America’s 28th president—was one of the earliest Progressive thinkers.  His critique of the Founding—namely, his rejection of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution’s system of the separation of powers—is one of the most articulate expressions of the Progressive movement’s core beliefs.



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


  1. Wilson  - "What is Progress?" (excerpt)
  2. Wilson- "Address to the Jefferson Club of Los Angeles" (excerpt)
  3. Wilson - "The Author and Signers of the Declaration of Independence" (excerpt)


Download a PDF of the Week Two supplementary readings.

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Ronald J. Pestritto is the Charles and Lucia Shipley Professor in the American Constitution at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University.