This course is an introduction to the historical, political, philosophical, and economic roots of the U.S. Constitution. It first reviews the philosophical arguments of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, those that supported and opposed ratification of the Constitution. The course then examines milestone Supreme Court decisions and the Court’s evolving interpretations of the Constitution. This course focuses on the first ten amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, and the issues of slavery and civil rights as seen through major court decisions.
This undergraduate course is 5 weeks.
Attendance and participation are mandatory in all university courses, and specific requirements may differ by course. If attendance requirements are not met, a student may be removed from the course. Please review the Course Attendance Policy in the Catalog for more information.
Topics and Objectives
Historical and Philosophical Roots of the U.S. Constitution
- Identify the influence that earlier governing documents had on the development of the
- Constitution of the United States.
- Compare the different philosophies on governmental structure as related to the social compact.
- Discuss the debates between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists regarding the ratification of the Constitution.
- Describe how and why the Founders created a system based on Federalism.
The Three Branches of Government
- Differentiate the powers granted to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government.
- Identify the reasons for and the realities of interaction between the three branches of the U.S. government created by the Constitution.
- Describe the conflict between supporters of a strong federal government and champions of states’ rights historically and currently.
The Bill of Rights and Later Amendments
- Identify changes in society and problems with the original Constitution that motivated amendments.
- Evaluate the effect of the amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights on American society.
- Analyze the effect of later constitutional amendments.
Citizen Rights and Responsibilities
- Identify significant Supreme Court decisions on First Amendment rights.
- Analyze the current status of First Amendment rights as applied to individuals and society.
- Assess the current rights and responsibilities of a citizen of the United States, including the right of privacy.
Reflecting on the Constitution
- Evaluate current issues for constitutional revision.
- Predict the topic of the next constitutional amendment.
- Summarize the major differences between the federal constitution and your home state’s constitution.
- Analyze how differing interpretations of the Constitution are a source of ongoing political disputes in today’s society.
The University of Phoenix reserves the right to modify courses.
While widely available, not all programs are available in all locations or in both online and on-campus formats. More information about eligibility requirements, policies, and procedures can be found in the catalog.
Transferability of credit is at the discretion of the receiving institution. It is the student’s responsibility to confirm whether or not credits earned at University of Phoenix will be accepted by another institution of the student’s choice.