HIUS313: The American Founding

11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/01/2024

Course Description

An overview and analysis of the origins of the United States Constitution, its ratification, and initial implementation.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The purpose of the course is to provide the student with a rich understanding of the Constitution. In particular, the student will learn the deep, historical roots of the Constitution, the importance of state constitutions and ratification conventions, the importance of federalism, and how Anti-federalists were also founders of the United States.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the discussions in this course are meant to foster a spirit of community and collegiality. However, the student must also view these as academic assignments with formal requirements. The discussions in this course will expand your Christian worldview as it relates to the American Founding. For each discussion, the student will post an initial thread of 700-800 words in length in response to the provided prompt. Then, the student should reply to two (2) of his/her peers with posts 200-250 words in length. All threads must demonstrate comprehension of course material and refer specifically – through paraphrase, summary, or quotation – to content from course readings and presentations. In the initial post, the student must cite the number and types of sources indicated in the discussion prompt (at a minimum). For the Discussion Thread: Faith of our Founders specifically, the student is expected to use at least three scholarly sources (1 primary source and 2 secondary sources). Citations for replies are encouraged but not required. Footnote citations and bibliographic information should be provided for all sources used in current Turabian style. (CLO: A, B)

Sources of Liberty Assignment

This assignment will take the student through the main British constitutional documents, such as the Magna Carta (1215), Petition of Right (1628), and the English Bill of Rights (1689) and compare them to what is found in early colonial compacts, charters, and state constitutions prior to 1777. The goal is to acquaint the historian with the key rights and liberties that British North Americans insisted on having transferred to and/or improved upon in the New World and fought to preserve during the American Revolution. (CLO: B, C, D)

Short Paper Assignments (3)

The student will write three short research-based papers in current Turabian format that focus on (1) the Constitutional Convention; (2) the State Ratifying Conventions; and (3) the U.S. Congress during the 1790s. The purpose of these papers is to enhance the historian’s understanding of the early American founding era by investigating primary and secondary source evidence for these subjects which each played a significant role in the planning, design, and formation of America. (CLO: B, C, D, E, F)

Quizzes (6)

For each module assigned, the student will complete a quiz on the materials for that module. Quiz questions may consist of a variation of eleven (11) of multiple-choice, true/false, or essay questions. Each quiz will have a time limit of 45 minutes and will allow for one attempt. (CLO: A, B, C, D, E, F)

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