Arizona Christian University is excited to be partnering with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to offer a new course for Spring 2019  – POL 376: American Exceptionalism.

“Arizona Christian University is building a national reputation not only for educational excellence, but also for its commitment to teaching future leaders about the conservative, biblical values that have enabled the United States to become the most free, the most powerful and the most compassionate and just society in human history,” said ACU President Len Munsil. “Learning from one of our generation’s most brilliant conservative political and intellectual leaders, Newt Gingrich, is an incredible opportunity for our students.”

This course will consider what makes America unique from other nations. Despite America’s imperfections, the biblical worldview and Christian heritage present at the American Founding have created an exceptional nation rooted in liberty and virtue, and constantly striving to become a more perfect union. ACU’s is one of the first universities in America with a course on “American Exceptionalism,” which connects to the University’s Core Commitments that include teaching students to defend the principles of Western Civilization. The course has been required in the political science major for seven years, and now is being redesigned with the new partnership in mind for all ACU students.

Students will hear directly from historian, former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who has written and spoken extensively on the unique American experience. The course will be taught by Dr. Tracy Munsil, associate political science professor and chair of the Department of Government, History and Philosophy. Speaker Gingrich will hold “virtual office hours” every week – allowing students to ask any questions they have about American Exceptionalism or his take on current political issues.

This course is required for all political science majors at ACU. All other students can use the class to meet either their upper-division Bible elective requirement or as an upper-division elective. The course is scheduled to meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m.

This course considers aspects of the American political system that make it unique among nations, including the role of the biblical worldview, Christian heritage, religious liberty in the American founding, the idea of America embodied in the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents, the American republican ideal, the concepts of liberty, virtue, and self-government in the American context, capitalism and the free-market system, and the importance of the First Amendment and other constitutional protections to a free society.

During the semester, students will evaluate the concept of “American Exceptionalism” using primary documents, historical context, popular political rhetoric, and political science scholarship that focuses on American Exceptionalism. Students will consider the writings and arguments of both advocates and critics of the concept, as well as current and future challenges to American Exceptionalism.