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2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POL 115 - The American Constitution

Credits: 3
3 Lecture Hours

This course examines the United States Constitution, which is the world’s oldest written constitution. Born in the turbulent years following the Revolutionary War, it formalized many of the philosophical and political ideas of that period. The central values embodied in the Constitution reflect the Founders’ commitment to liberty and limited government. While the constitution has served the American republic well over the past 200-plus years, it has also generated a tremendous amount of controversy. From the very beginning, disputes over Constitutional interpretation have played a major role in shaping the American republic. In this course, we will study some of these major Constitutional disputes and gain a greater appreciation for the evolution of Constitutional Law since the founding period.
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will:

  1. Explain the nature and character of judicial decision of the Supreme Court on a range of important subjects (free speech, privacy, states’ rights).
  2. Compare and contrast modern Supreme Court decisions within the context of the broader historical traditions of Constitutional law.
  3. Aware of the basic philosophical values and traditions embedded within the Constitution.
  4. Identify the content of the different sections and articles of the Constitution.
  5. Describe the basic operation of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  6. Compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the United States Constitution.
Listed Topics
  1. The Articles of Confederation and the Constitutional Convention of 1787
  2. Supreme Court decisions concerning the power of government and the jurisdiction between the various branches of government
  3. The Bill of Rights and the history of decisions the Court has made with respect to them: freedom of speech, the press, religion, due process in relation to criminal justice and economic regulation, equal protection and the question of race and gender and sexual orientation
Reference Materials
Contemporary text and appropriate AV materials.
Approved By: Sutin, Stewart Date Approved: 07/13/2006

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