The Founding Era and Constitution – PLCY 702

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

The course explores the key actors, events and content of the American Founding period and provides an application of Biblical principles of statesmanship as discussed in PLCY 701. Special emphasis is placed on the religious, social economic and philosophical influences on U.S. constitutional design as well as significant crises and inconsistencies between ideals and practice Study will span the formative period from the granting of colonial charters to the ratification of the I.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and the early years of the republic. A combination of historical textbook(s), scholarly journals articles and primary documents will be examined.


PLCY 700


An understanding of the historical context and fundamental principles shaping U.S. constitutional design is an essential component of doctoral-level training in American public policy. Challenged by 20th century progressivism, American republican government and its core principles of limited government, divided powers, and free enterprise provide critical safeguards against tyranny. This course examines the Founders’ robust defense of the federal republic and core biblical truths concerning human nature, statesmanship, and law.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the colonial origins of American government.
  2. Identify philosophical trends and political exigencies affecting U.S. constitutional design.
  3. Compare key principles and arguments expressed by Federalists and Antifederalists during the constitutional ratification period.
  4. Critique early constitutional crises and questions of the American republic, including the paradox of slavery, the role of the judiciary, and value of a national bank.
  5. Evaluate the impact of Judeo-Christian democratic principles on American concepts of civil rights and liberties.
  6. Assess the influence of biblical principles of statesmanship on the beliefs, arguments, and actions of the U.S. Founding Fathers.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, each student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 500-700 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 3 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 250-300 words.

Reflection Papers (5)

The reflection papers required for this course are brief analyses related to the required readings for the given week as well as one or more scholarly sources selected by the student. Papers must succinctly address the given prompt and demonstrate a mastery of the module/week’s learning objectives. Each paper must be 5–7 pages in length, excluding title and Reference pages, and follow Turabian Author-Date formatting guidelines.

Article Review

Article reviews succinctly summarize scholarly works and note the assumptions, research methods and general purpose of the authors. Students will each select either a classic or contemporary scholarly work related to the American Founding and Constitution and compose a detailed review. The review must be 4–5 pages in length, excluding title and Reference pages, and follow Turabian Author-Date formatting guidelines.