Thomas Jefferson and the Spirit of 1776


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Greatest Books Curriculum

POL 2233 American Foundations and Government (3)

American Government begins with an analysis of various 17th century primary documents drawn from the Greatest Books American State Papers collection including such texts as the Mayflower Compact and various founding charters of the New England and Southern colonies.

Students will learn how the colonies emerged from Christian commonwealths to become secular democratic states by a thorough examination of the American and French Revolutions, the Enlightnement, Deism, and the nation's 18th century founding documents with special emphasis on the Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

The final five weeks are devoted to a study of legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, the separation of powers (checks and balances), federalism, monetary and fiscal policy, a study of civil rights and liberties and associated landmark cases. The course ends with an examination of the current global environment, international institutions and evolving American foreign policy.


The American State Papers:
     Pilgrim and Colonial Periods - Colonial Charters
     Articles of Confederation
     The Declaration of Independence

     The United States Constitution
     Lincoln Documents et al

Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson's Bible
Selected Excerpts: Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison
The Federalist Papers: (excerpts)
Landmark Supreme Court Cases

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