The King’s College Approves American Constitutionalism Minor

The new minor, available in Fall 2021, covers constitutional principles, history, and controversies from the American Founding to current debates about constitutional interpretation.

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In Fall 2021, The King’s College will begin offering a minor in American Constitutionalism. Open to students in any major, the minor covers constitutional principles, history, and controversies from the American Founding to current debates about constitutional interpretation. The sponsoring faculty for the minor are Associate Professor of Politics Dr. Matthew Parks, Associate Professor of Politics Dr. David Tubbs, and Assistant Professor of Politics Dr. Joseph Griffith.

Parks says, “We live in a time of tribal, often no-holds-barred politics. The Constitution provides a common framework for resolving our differences in ways that can advance the cause of justice while protecting the majority and the minority alike.”

Griffith adds, “A recent study found that four in five Americans have only a few or no friends at all who voted for ‘the other guy’ in the 2020 presidential election. In our new minor, students will form the habits of civic friendship by learning about and discussing, as with friends, ‘the supreme law of the land,’ the only law that has ever garnered the support of the whole country.”

The American Constitutionalism minor is ideal for students considering a future in law, says Tubbs. For students not planning to pursue law school, the coursework offers preparation for careers within the federal government or at the intersections of politics and law or business and law. While King’s currently offers a Pre-Law minor, this new minor provides extended study of the Constitution at a higher level.

The minor requires six courses (18 credits):

  • American Political Thought and Practice I and II are already part of the Core Curriculum.
  • Constitutional Law and Civil Rights are currently offered in the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) major course map (Constitutional Law is required; Civil Rights is a PPE elective). These courses are also required in the Pre-Law minor.
  • Constitutional Law of the Federal System is a new upper level course that will consider the scope of and limits on the powers of the Supreme Court, the Congress, the President, and administrative agencies, as well as the relationship between state governments and the federal government.
  • The final course is a distribution requirement. Students can choose either a course on the Federalist Papers or a course on Abraham Lincoln.

Parks, who teaches both courses in the distribution requirement, notes that New York City plays a role in each: “Lincoln gave the speech that propelled him to the 1860 Republican Party nomination at Cooper Union just up the island from us, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debate over ratifying the Constitution was most prominently carried out in different NYC newspapers.”

For Tubbs, the addition of the minor lines up with the College’s founding of the Center for the Study of Christianity and the Black Experience in summer 2020. He says, “Everyone studying the Constitution in pursuit of this minor will know about the legal history of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights movement.”

This minor builds on the strong track record established by alumni in the legal profession. King’s alumni have attended a host of law schools around the country, including University of Alabama (John Hundscheid ’11), American (Rachel Gruebbel ’18), Boston University (Jacqueline Smith ’10), Brooklyn Law (John Rabe ’14), Chapman (Christopher Lawrence ’14) University of Chicago (Elle Rogers ’19), CUNY Law (Chelsea Guffy ’10, Ariana Smith ’12), Fordham (Jessica Lee ’14, Chris Ross ’10, Andrew Debter ’13, Gabrielle Vickers ’17), Georgetown (Krissa Webb ’09), George Washington (Bryan Nance ’09), Harvard (Noah Heinz ’14, Josh Craddock ’14, Davis Campbell ’16), University of North Carolina (Grant Figari ’15), Northwestern (Bethany Pickett ’12), U-T Austin (Alexandra Harrison Gaiser ’12, Tim Perdew ’15, Justin Cox ’19), Regent University (Becca Tingstrom ’09, Pam Dodge ’11, Morgan Ewing ’18), St. John’s (Artesia Tso ’15), Vanderbilt (Daniel Hay ’10), Washington and Lee (Madison Peace Nye ’12), and Yale (Lucas Croslow ’10).

The addition of the minor in American Constitutionalism brings the total number of King’s minors to 17. (View the other 16 minors here.) Additional information for the American Constitutionalism minor will appear in the 2021-22 College Catalog.

Featured image: Creative Commons. “US Constitution” by kjd is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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