This course will focus on the origins and unfolding of the American Constitutional System in its written and unwritten practices from the American Revolution through the twentieth century. Learners will examine constitutional developments, both within their historical contexts and against the backdrop of powerful forces that have influenced American society.
This course is an approved survey course in United States History for teacher certification in Connecticut.
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate the dynamics by which the American constitutional system functions in theory and in practice
- Demonstrate the relationships between the written Constitution and the unwritten practices and institutions which permit it to remain an effective instrument
- Analyze the social, political, economic and behavioral experience which provide the historical context for constitutional change
- Interpret consistently the significant constitutional issues over the period of time covered by the course
- Adopt positions on public issues in American constitutional history and support those positions with a combination of factual historical evidence and argumentation.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.
Course Activities and Grading
Participation in Discussion/Exchange with Other Learners through Focused Queries
Weekly Open Book Quizzes (13 @ 10 points each*)
Final Examination Week 15
*Note: The instructor will drop the three lowest submitted grades.
Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore
- Urofsky, Melvin. A March of Liberty: Constitutional History of the United States Volume 1. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN-10: 0-19-538273-0 or ISBN-13: 978-0-19-538273-0
- Urofsky, Melvin. A March of Liberty: Constitutional History of the United States Volume 2. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN-10: 0-19-538274-9 or ISBN-13: 978-0-19-538274-7
- Gerber, Richard (2009). The System: The American Constitution in Historical Perspective 1763-1929. Cengage, 2009. ISBN-10: 1-4240-6836-3 or ISBN-13: 978-1-4240-6836-4
From time to time reading materials may be posted by Professor Gerber under Course Documents. These will also become required reading.
Readings and Exercises
|Topic: Introduction to the American Constitutional System|
|Topic: Invention of the American Republic – Part 1|
|Topic: Invention of the American Republic - Part II|
|Topic: Constitutional Consolidation and American Nationalism – Part I|
|Topic: Constitutional Consolidation and American Nationalism – Part II|
|Topic: Constitutional Consolidation and American Nationalism – Part III|
|Topic: The Emergence of Sectional Conflict|
Topic: System Failure, System Repair – Part I
Topic: System Failure, System Repair – Part II
Learning Unit 10: System Failure, System Repair – Part III
Topic: The System Responds to Industrialism – Part I
Topic: The System Responds to Industrialism Part II
Topic: The Transformation of Constitutional Culture
Topic: The Constitution and Modern War
Topic: Dynamics and the Constitutional Capacity to Adapt to Changing Conditions
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.