The American Founding – HIUS 313

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 04/08/2022

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.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the deep, historical roots of the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Explain how the American colonial experience influenced the framing of the Constitution.
  3. Describe the importance of the original state constitutions and the ratification process.
  4. Explain the importance of the concept of federalism and the ratification process.
  5. Discuss the importance of Anti-Federalists and the Founding.

Course Assignment

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)

The discussions in this course are meant to be collaborative learning experiences that foster a spirit of community and collegiality; but you must also view these as academic assignments with formal requirements. The discussions in this course will expand your Christian worldview as it relates the American Founding.

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 compares 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.

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.

Quizzes (6)

There are six quizzes. Each quiz will include 10 multiple-choice and true/false questions and 1 essay question on the Learn materials for that Module: Week. Answers to essay questions must be at least 150 words. Each quiz will have a total of 11 questions and a time limit of 45 minutes.