Program Details

Guided Discussion Exploring the American Constitution

Burton Atkins

Course Description

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 session 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). Attendees will then examine and discuss a range of contemporary issues and problems relating to American politics that have raised constitutional issues. The format of the class is designed to encourage discussion among participants and with the instructor of these and related issues about the Constitution. Participants will be provided with a copy of the Constitution to guide the discussion and that they can keep for future reference. Enrollment is limited.

About the Instructor

  • Burton Atkins, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of political science at Florida State University (FSU). Currently, he teaches political science at FAU. 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.