Jonathan Garthwaite

Let’s face it, an education about the Constitution is not the easiest to come by. There are some good books out there, and some good groups helping make sense of it all. But there’s one group with one new, very good program that I think deserves special mention.

It’s from Hillsdale College, and it’s their brand new, 10-week Online Constitution Course called “Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution.” Hillsdale College does a lot of really great stuff, but I’ll mention 3 of the best known that also happen to be my favorites:

1. They publish Imprimis – their free monthly speech digest. It has somewhere near 2.5 million readers, and has published speeches from Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Walter Williams, Paul Ryan, and many other prominent conservatives. That’s not bad.
2. They’re completely independent – they accept not a dime of federal or state taxpayer money, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. There’s a whole story about a Supreme Court case from back in the 70’s and 80s’ that resulted in them taking this position.
3. They have a tough core curriculum that all students must complete, and it includes an entire semester of study on the U.S. Constitution.

Number three is the most exciting, I think, because that’s exactly what Constitution 101 is – the same professors who teach their students, delivering the same lectures, and assigning the same readings. And now you get to be one of their students. Plus there are quizzes to test your knowledge, study guides to help you with the lessons, and weekly Q&A sessions where you can submit questions to be answered by the professors. Really great stuff.

The program officially launched on February 20th, but it’s all online and archived so you can catch up and view the material as you have time. Best of all? It’s free. You can give a donation to support the program, but it’s not required in order to sign up. If you’re interested, you can register here.

The course covers such topics as the Declaration of Independence and its connection to the Constitution, how the Constitution is structured to protect individual liberty and ensure good government, the crisis of constitutional government faced by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and its modern challenges during the "Progressive" era.

If as a nation we want to have a serious conversation about the Constitution, and I think it’s time we do, this is what every American needs to know, especially in this crucial election year.

If you’re looking for a leader, and therefore a partner, in this national conversation on the Constitution, look no further than Hillsdale College.

Jonathan Garthwaite

Jonathan Garthwaite is General Manager of