Course 10, “The American Constitution: Self-Interest and the Common Good”

In Course 10, we further explore the question of the Good and the goodness of freedom in connection with self-interest and self-government in the American Constitution. We start by considering the observations of Irving Kristol and Alexis de Tocqueville about what makes a human being good. Next, we study James Madison’s work on the problem of individualism and faction, and George Washington’s sage counsel on the essential role of religion and morality in the American Founding. From contemporary political leaders Senator Biden, Judge Bork, Attorney General Edwin Meese, and Justice Brennan we glean more insights about the meaning and the interpretation of the Constitution. Finally, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton teach us the higher human purposes inherent in American constitutionalism.

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