The United States Constitution began as a idea and a rough draft. Indeed, when first presented to delegates at the Philadelphia Convention, the draft was a proposed treaty among thirteen erstwhile British colonies. In this seven-week seminar, we delve into the pivotal events, people, and debates that produced the final draft. We go on to explore the year-long ratification battle that transformed the Framers’ final draft into an enduring, singular civil covenant. Those ratification debates were quintessentially American, a mix and match of sacred and profane, treatises and trinkets, high-minded and underhanded. Weekly readings include primary documents, contemporary newspapers, and historical commentary. Written work is varied and weekly.
This course is offered during the first seven weeks of the term.