A Study In How To Be A Citizen

A Study In How To Be A Citizen

Written by Emily Depangher

One of the courses that every student who graduates from Hillsdale must have on their transcript is Constitution 101. This course examines the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers, and the application of the Constitution during key events like the Civil War and the Progressive Movement.

Such an in-depth study of the Constitution provides students with unique insight on the background and original purpose of our laws, which President Abraham Lincoln states in his Lyceum Address should be “taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges” in order to foster a principled society.

Simply stated: One does not take Constitution 101 and just “move on.”

Dr. Adam Carrington, assistant professor of politics, explains that “studying the Constitution is studying how to be a citizen in our own time and place.” This study helps Hillsdale succeed in its mission to “cultivate human beings and citizens.”

Likewise, teaching students to revere and understand the Constitution prepares those seeking legal careers to attend law school with a critical lens that allows them to stick to their principles, even in a society that often disregards its heritage.

Senior politics major Kristiana Mork, who plans to pursue a career in law, emphasizes that abiding by the Constitution’s “structure and principles” is essential to inciting positive change in this country. She is grateful for her undergraduate time at Hillsdale because she knows that she will be able to influence reform that will not compromise America’s foundational principles, unlike most of today’s legal changes.

As an institution, Hillsdale fosters both a love of country and analytical thought. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is the study of the Constitution that provides the practical basis for using such values and devotions to defend the law and promote justice. By understanding the sacrifice and principles of our heritage, attorneys can help interpret and refine the law in a way that the founders dreamt of when drafting the Constitution.


Emily DePangher, class of ’16, plans to pursue a career in criminal justice in Washington, D.C. post graduation. As a George Washington Fellow and politics major, Emily has had the opportunity to participate in a myriad of political events while at the college. Furthermore, her her participation in mock trial, volunteer hours at the local nursing home, and two summers spent living and working in DC have provided a host of real world experience that she highly values.