Creation of the Constitution
The course begins with readings setting forth the intellectual and experiential background of the framing, including common law and natural rights theory, republicanism, economic & political scientific ideas, and colonial and post-Independence experience. We then study large parts of the debates at the Constitutional Convention, primarily using Madison's Notes. Next come the ratification debates, including readings from antifederalist writers, about half of The Federalist, and overviews of the Virginia and New York ratification conventions. We conclude with the addition of the Bill of Rights. Classes consist of a combination of lecture and extensive participation by students.