COURSE TITLE: SIA 101: The Political Science of the American Founding

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to be the beginning of what, hopefully, will become a lifetime of learning, discussion, and debate about the ideas of human freedom and conditions necessary for human flourishing.

This course will help your homeschooling student prepare himself or herself for the rights and duties of being a citizen of a free regime by understanding the political science of the great American experiment in self-government. Much emphasis is placed on the key ideas enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the attempt to incorporate those ideas into the design of a new constitution unlike any that preceded it.

This course utilizes original source materials, such as The Federalist Papers and other documents, in an attempt to understand what the Founders were saying and doing so that we, today, might judge well whether their Constitutional experiment in self-government is worth conserving or not.


We refer to a number of original source materials in this course. When possible, this lesson plan will include links to documents that are available online. When documents are not available online, we provide links to books that contain the documents. The books may be purchased or checked out from a local library.

Each Lesson Plan includes a section where the student researches terms, people, and places referenced in the respective video or podcast. We recommend that a student keeps a record of the information he/she gathers for this research.

COURSE LEVEL: The materials included in this course have been selected, arranged, and packaged to supplement all kinds of homeschooling curricula. The homeschooling parent can easily modify these materials to be used for many learning levels, ranging from younger students to high schoolers.

COURSE INSTRUCTOR: Thomas L. Krannawitter, Ph.D.

Thomas L. Krannawitter holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Claremont Graduate University. He has taught courses in American political thought, Constitutional Law, and classical modern political philosophy at Claremont McKenna College, Hillsdale College, & George Mason University, among other places. He has authored four books, contributed chapters to three books, and has written hundreds of essays and articles. His 2008 book, Vindicating Lincoln, was endorsed by the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. This course is a distillation of years of academic research, writing, and teaching.

CONTACT HOURS: 30 hours of video and podcast materials. Approximately 60 hours of additional reading, academic exercises, and discussion. Total hours = 90


Students completing this course will be able to identify and explain the following ten learning objectives:

  1. Key ideas of the Declaration of Independence, including natural rights, natural law, natural human equality, revolution, and the proper purpose of government.
  2. Qualities of citizenship the Founders thought important for establishing and maintaining a free society.
  3. The purpose, design, and major features of the United States Constitution.
  4. The radical anti-slavery movement in early United States history.
  5. The meaning of private property in the Founding period and ways private property was protected by law.
  6. The meaning, importance, and challenge of religious liberty in the American Founding.
  7. Why the authors of The Federalist Papers opposed the adoption of a bill of rights.
  8. The meaning and purpose of judicial review.
  9. Strategic reasons offered in The Federalist Papers for the Constitutional separation of powers.
  10. The original purpose of the Electoral College.


SIA 101: Declaration of Independence – Part I
Lincoln argued that the ideas contained in the Declaration are indispensable for freedom, yet many influential Americans today reject those ideas.

SIA 101.2: Declaration of Independence – Part II
To judge whether the principles of the Declaration are true or false requires that we understand them as they were understood in 1776.

SIA 101.3: Declaration of Independence – Part III
“The laws of nature and of nature’s God” is a philosophic term of art. Let’s clarify what it does and does not mean.

SIA 101.4: Declaration of Independence – Part IV
Can any truth be “self-evident?” That all depends on what “self-evident” means, which is the focus of this video class.

SIA 101.5: Declaration of Independence – Part V
The human nature that all human beings share contains within itself the source of self-government.

SIA 101.6: Declaration of Independence – Part VI
Combining justice with the consent of the governed is easy in theory, difficult in practice.

SIA 101.7: Declaration of Independence – Part VII
Revolution is sometimes necessary, always dangerous, never to be viewed lightly or dismissed easily.

SIA 101.8: Declaration of Independence – Part VIII
The Declaration’s indictments against King George III provide a blueprint for a constitution of freedom, private property, and justice under the law.

SIA 101.9: Declaration of Independence – Part IX
Conditions of freedom: A summary of the political science of the Declaration with an emphasis on the civic virtues free citizens should exercise.

SIA 101.10: The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding – Part I
Any study of the history of slavery should begin by acknowledging that slavery is accepted as traditional, or right, in a bad regime, while in a good regime slavery is viewed as a problem.

SIA 101.11: The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding – Part II
Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. And he owned slaves. What are we today to make of that?

SIA 101.12: The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding – Part III
Thomas Jefferson questioned whether black people and white people were equal in certain talents. And, he argued that differences in talents do not alter or affect universal equal natural rights.

SIA 101.13: The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding – Part IV
Slavery compromises in the United States Constitution: Would you have voted in support of them of them had you been in the Convention of 1787?

SIA 101.14: The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding – Part V
Anti-slavery, pro-freedom words and actions in the American Founding.


SIP 101.1: The Declaration of Independence, Part 1

SIP 101.2: The Declaration of Independence, Part 2

SIP 101.3: The Problem of Slavery in the American Founding

SIP 101.4: Religion and Religious Liberty in the American Founding

SIP 101.5: Property, Property Rights, and Prosperity

SIP 101.6: United States Constitution, Part 1

SIP 101.7: United States Constitution, Part 2

SIP 101.8: The Federalist Papers, Part 1

SIP 101.9: The Federalist Papers, Part 2

SIP 101.10: The Federalist Papers, Part 3

SIP 101.11: The Federalist Papers, Part 4

SIP 101.12: The Federalist Papers, Part 5

SIP 101.13: The Federalist Papers, Part 6

SIP 101.14: The Federalist Papers, Part 7

SIP 101.15: The Federalist Papers, Part 8

SIP 101.16: The Federalist Papers, Part 9

SIP 101.17: The Federalist Papers, Part 10

SIP 101.18: The Federalist Papers, Part 11

SIP 101.19: The Federalist Papers, Part 12

SIP 101.20: The Federalist Papers, Part 13

SIP 101.21: The Federalist Papers, Part 14

SIP 101.22: The Federalist Papers, Part 15

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Bethany Drosendahl at 719-359-6669 or be*****@sp************.com.