This book explores five constitutional ideas that have shaped the identity of American universities and thus illustrate the connection between the U.S. Constitution and the American college campus. As an introduction, this chapter considers the influence of the European university on the modern American university, with particular emphasis on the ideas of Albert Einstein. It then discusses five fundamental tensions within American constitutional law that have exerted a profound impact on the shape and definition of American universities: the debate over whether we have a “living Constitution”; the division between the public and private sphere; the distinction between “rights” and “privileges”; the notion of “ordered liberty”; and competing conceptions of equality.
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