The U.S. Constitution: Its Foundations, Transformation, and Challenges
This course will explore the events that led to the transformation of the U.S. Constitution and our system of government from its foundation to what it is today. It is perfect for educators and lifelong learners who want to gain a deeper understanding of American constitutional democracy.
This course is entirely self-paced, so you can complete it on your own schedule. It is divided into four topics, each of which features a notable scholar. You can take the entire course or select the sessions that interest you. The course features scholar lectures recorded during the 2021 Presidential Academy for American History and Civics, sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Center for Civic Education's textbook, We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution, is referenced throughout the course. You do not have to have the book to participate fully in the online course, but it can enrich your experience if you have it available.
You are now ready to take this course! Choose where you would like to start and jump right in. You can check out our index, which is organized by topic, and choose something you are interested in.
Topic 1: The Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System and the Creation of the U.S. Constitution
This topic features the Honorable Susan Leeson, Associate Justice, Oregon Supreme Court (retired), as she discusses the foundations of the U.S. Constitution with a particular focus on the evolution of the American presidency.
Topic 2: Changes in the U.S. Constitutional System That Have Furthered the Ideals Contained in its Preamble and the Declaration of Independence
This topic features Dr. Jack Barlow, Professor of Political Science, Juniata College, as he discusses the changes of the U.S. Constitutional system from the civil war until today.
Topic 3: The Impact of the Values and Principles in the Constitution and Its Preamble on American Governmental Institutions and Practices
This topic features Dr. Francene Engel, as she discusses the impact of the values and principles in the Constitution.
This topic features Dr. Vikram Amar, Dean, University of Illinois, College of Law, as he discusses the evolution of voting rights and the other rights protected by the bill of rights and other amendments.