To support and defend the Constitution...

When they commission as second lieutenants, cadets take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  Yet many cadets, like many Americans, possess a limited knowledge of the Constitution, the contexts from which it emerged, and the specific features of the democratic republic Americans created when they ratified this revolutionary plan for their government.

A New Interdisciplinary Minor

The American foundations minor creates an interdisciplinary community of cadets and faculty members who, as the result of rigorous analysis, can enrich and enhance an understanding and appreciation of the American founding and the Constitution. Cadets minoring in American foundations take two cornerstone courses, three electives, and a capstone course.


Cornerstone Courses

Cadets study the philosophical foundations of the American republic in “SS386: Political Thought;” as well as either “HI394: Revolutionary America,” which considers the causes of constitutional ratification; or “HI390: Early American Republic,” which focuses on government under the new Constitution.


Cadets choose three electives on the American founding era and its legacy from departments across West Point. Examples of qualifying electives include “EN321: American Literature I,” LW475: Advanced Constitutional Law Seminar,” and “SS385: History of Economics.”  A full list of electives can be found in the USMA Redbook.



"XH476: Tutorial in American Foundations" allows cadets to engage in individualized study of texts central to the American founding under the supervision of a faculty member. The tutorial employs small group discussions to examine selected texts from the period of the American founding utilizing diverse disciplinary perspectives. In consultation with a faculty supervisor, cadets select an area of focus as the basis for a tailored reading program.The course concludes with an oral examination by a committee of faculty members representing different disciplines.

Interested in signing up for the minor? Contact the American politics department academic counselor today.

American Politics Links


Return to the Department of Social Sciences Page

Are you interested in learning about the American politics (AP) major?

Check out the links below for more detailed information on what it’s like to study American politics:


American Politics Major: The Program

American Politics Major: Sample Schedules

American Politics: Course Highlights

AP: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)