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Master of Liberal Studies

Fall 2017 Semester

MLS Civics Program

Fall Semester 2017
MLS 580 “The American Founding: Principles, Practices, Controversies”
Professor Evan Oxman
Course Description

American politicians and legal scholars often support their opinions by referring to the Founding era of the United States. But what exactly occurred during those important years at the end of the 18th century? What were the major debates about the ratification of the Constitution and how were they resolved? Are these founding principles and institutions still worthy of support as they stand? Do they need to be revised to meet changed circumstances and, if so, to what degree?

In this course, we will carefully interrogate the history and political philosophy of the Founding Era by examining a wide selection of key texts. In addition, we will explore how different generations of Americans have (re)-interpreted the meaning of these texts. Finally, we will consider how and why debates surrounding the meaning of the Founding era are still very much present in virtually all of the major political controversies of our day.


Evan Oxman
Uihlein Assistant Professor of American Politics at Lake Forest College

Professor Oxman holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and did his undergraduate work at Duke University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He specializes in Political Theory, American Politics, and Public Law.  

Syllabus for MLS 580: “The American Founding: Principles, Practices, Controversies”