PROGRAM DETAILS

Exploring the American Constitution: A Contemporary Appraisal of Our Founding Document

Instructor
Burton Atkins
Category
Politics / History
FPL12044C

Course Description

Lifelong Learning is presenting this one-time event with a limited enrollment of 15 attendees to create a more intimate environment and provide students with greater access to the OLLI instructor. This session will be devoted to a study and appraisal of the American Constitution. For over 200 years the Constitution has served as the bedrock of American democracy and has been a symbol of our experiment in popular governance. Yet, despite its important role in guiding our law and politics, it’s surprising that many myths and misconceptions persist about our founding document. The program will begin with a brief discussion about the background to the drafting of the Constitution in 1787, the general structure of the document as finally adopted and a summary of the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1–10). The session will then be devoted to examining a range of contemporary issues and problems relating to American politics that have raised constitutional issues, such as the Second Amendment and gun rights, the right of privacy and abortion issues, whether the electoral college should be abandoned or altered and partisan gerrymandering. Participants will be provided with a copy of the Constitution to help guide the discussion and that they can keep for future reference. Space is limited so register early.

About the Instructor

  • Burton Atkins, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Florida State University (FSU). Currently, he teaches political science at FAU and also serves on the faculty at Penn State University. In his 35-year career at FSU, Atkins taught a variety of courses on and wrote extensively about constitutional law and U.S. politics and served as chair of the political science department. He lived in London from 1992 to 1997 while serving as the Director of FSU's London Study Center and from 1997 until his retirement in 2006 he served as Director of the FSU International Affairs Program.