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This year marks the 130th anniversary of the beginning of the Con­sti­tu­tional Con­vention — and in the fall, Pro­fessor of History Paul Rahe and his stu­dents will take a closer look at the his­toric group.

Rahe is offering a new course called “The American Con­sti­tu­tional Con­vention” to track how the United States’ cor­ner­stone doc­ument came into being.

“The idea is to go over the con­vention day by day, looking at its members’ delib­er­a­tions,” Rahe said.

The course’s reading material will focus on the notes taken pri­marily by James Madison — and others — at the con­vention and will follow how what started as an attempt to amend the Articles of Con­fed­er­ation became a second rev­o­lution in American political thinking.

“They feel their way toward the solution to the problems,” Rahe said. “If you make one decision about the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, you’re going to have to revisit your former thinking about the Senate.”

The course will also include the rat­i­fi­cation debate dis­cussed in the Fed­er­alist and Antifed­er­alist papers as well as the writing from political thinkers like Mon­tesquieu that colored many of the Founders’ ideas.

Rahe taught this class in 1987 — before he came to Hillsdale College — for the bicen­tennial of the Con­sti­tu­tional Con­vention. He said he is excited to offer it again, because of the unique sit­u­ation in which the Founders found them­selves.

“It’s probably the only occasion in human history when a group of people have gotten together and sorted out a question like this with pretty much com­plete freedom to decide,” he said.

The course will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.