American Institutions II: Congress, the Constitution, and Contemporary Politics
March 11, 2016–December 31, 2016 Duration: 15 hours Congress, the Constitution, and Contemporary Politics explores the theoretical foundations of the legislative branch, from the representative bodies of ancient Rome and Greece, the creation of the American bicameral Congress at the Philadelphia Convention, the powers of Congress, and the expansion and change of congressional power over time.
With a growing partisan divide in today's Congress, we will explore questions of whether Congress is fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities of representing the people, deliberating issues, successfully legislating for the common good, and exercising its oversight of the executive. We will also pay particular attention to the institutional changes within the legislative branch, covering congressional elections and the role of the party and committee leadership. By the end of the course, you should have an informed opinion on whether congress is indeed the "broken branch" and whether further institutional reform is necessary. Learn moreabout Congress, the Constitution, and Contemporary Politics online course and enroll today. Already enrolled? LoginEnroll
Suffrage in America
November 30, 2015–December 31, 2016 Duration: 10 hours
This history of the right to vote in the United States is a long and complex tale, stretching from the absence of an affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution to current debates about election procedures and voter suppression—with many important episodes in between. This course explores some of the key moments in this story, much of which unfolded in state governments, from the late 18th century through the 1960s and beyond. This course examines the reasons for dropping property requirements in the early 19th century, the passage of the 15th and 19th amendments, and the multiple legal changes of the long 1960s, among many other important changes to the franchise. Significant attention is paid to understanding why suffrage rights expanded in some eras and contracted in others. Learn moreabout Suffrage in America online course and enroll today.
American Institutions I: The Federal Judiciary—From Idea to Institution
October 30, 2015–December 31, 2016 Duration: 10 hours
This online course on the institution of the Federal Judiciary in the United States examines the role of "the judiciary" as one of the three branches of American government. Article III of the Constitution outlines the federal judiciary in very broad terms, leaving it to Congress to create by law a working judicial structure and to determine most of the federal courts' jurisdiction (or power to decide cases). This course focuses on the creation of the judicial branch and its constitutional ties to the other branches, the evolution of the Supreme Court as an institution, the debates over methods of interpreting the Constitution, and contemporary issues involving the role of federal courts in the American political system. Learn moreabout The Federal Judiciary: From Idea to Institution online course and enroll today.
The United States Constitution was drafted by 55 delegates appointed to journey to Philadelphia during the hot summer of 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation. Instead, they wrote a new constitution from whole cloth, that is still in force today, more than 200 years later, amended only 27 times. Conceived from James Madison's daring Virginia Plan and drafted after three months of debate, the Constitution was the product of rich conversation about the nature and form of good government and a series of compromises between the delegates. This free online course will walk you through the Convention and the debates, delving deeply into each of the issues discussed. You will leave this course with a greater understanding of not only what the Constitution says, but how it was created. Learn moreabout the Creation of the Constitution online course and enroll today.
The United States Constitution is the longest operating written charter of government in the world. It was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788 and was operating over the first eleven ratifying states by 1789. It has been amended only 27 times since its adoption. This free online course takes you through each article of this foundational document, exploring such concepts as Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary, the States, Ratification and Amendment, and the People. Learn more about the Constitutional Foundations online course and enroll today.
The Bill of Rights is one of the most cherished parts of the Constitution—it is a touchstone for the protection of the most basic and important rights that Americans enjoy and a crucial vehicle by which citizens can assert protections against the government. Explore the full array of rights ranging from the basic political and social rights of the 1st Amendment, to the criminal and civil protections in the second half of the Bill of Rights. The 9th and 10th offer a kind of guide to interpreting the constitution. Learn more about the Bill of Rights online course and enroll today. Already enrolled? LoginEnroll