The American Inheritance
About the course
“In America it may be said that no one renders obedience to man, but to justice and to law. If the opinion which the citizen entertains of himself is exaggerated, it is at least salutary; he unhesitatingly confides in his own powers, which appear to him to be all-sufficient.” - Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America
The American Founders were part of a people who saw themselves as carrying on the greatest legal, moral, and theological traditions of Western Civilization. Though this belief was perhaps always pretentious, and the observance not always true, the preservation of this inheritance has made the United States one of the greatest forces for good in the world.
This course will examine that inheritance, its origins, how it has been challenged by foreign and domestic threats--both military and philosophical--as well as those who sought to preserve the great ideals on which the United States was founded, as a distillation of the greatest ideals of Western Civilization.
Students will have weekly lectures, readings, journaling assignments, short essays, discussions, and micro-exegetical (close reading) sessions. Students will have a daily course catechism that parents will need to witness every weekday students are not in class. There are also exams at the end of each quarter.
This course integrates the Circe Institute’s Lost Tools of Writing course. A 10% discount code is available for Lost Tools of Writing materials after registering for this course.
- To practice thoughtful reading, careful reflection, and articulate communication.
- To locate the American tradition within the larger context of Western Civilization.
- To value the great institutions that have preserved the American tradition.
- To understand the opponents of American ideals--both domestic and abroad.
- To discern the problems that America has inherited.
- The Magna Carta
- Second Treatise on Government, Locke
- Commentaries on the Law of England, Blackstone
- Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu
- Selections from State constitutions and documents.
- Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke
- The Declaration of Independence, Jefferson
- Democracy in America, De Tocqueville
- The Constitution of the United States of America
- The Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Madison, Jay
- The Anti-Federalist Papers
- Selected speeches and correspondence of American Presidents
- Selections from Supreme Court Opinions
- Moby Dick, Herman Melville
- Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
- Everything Which Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor