Founding American Principles: American Constitutional Tradition Through History
March 8-10, 2013
The United States Constitution was an innovation in many respects, but innovations do not occur in a vacuum. The Framers of the Constitution sought to incorporate the best of the history and theory of republican government into their new plan. Yet they did not allow this "decent regard" for antiquity or custom "to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience" (Federalist 14). The Constitution is a work of political prudence: a union of sound theoretical principles combined with a sober appraisal of America's unique circumstances. This seminar explores the founding principles of the American Constitution, how these principles informed the making of the Constitution, and how they have been subsequently interpreted and applied.