Skip to main content

Utah State University to Host Series on the American Founding

Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013

Utah State University will host a symposium this spring on the founding of the United States. The series, “The Past, Present and Future of the American Founding,” runs through April and features scholars with expertise in areas that include the roots of early American political theory, the nation’s impact on the world order and the founding fathers themselves, including James Madison.

The symposium is sponsored by the Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism and the Department of Political Science at USU. The talks are open to the public. However, space is limited.

Schedule of events:

Monday, April 1

Session One: Rights and Revolution

Old Main, Room 119, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Craig Yirush, associate professor of history at the University of California at Los Angeles, will present the talk “Indians, Colonists and Empire: Towards a New History of the Founding.” He is the author of Settlers, Liberty, and Empire: The Roots of Early American Political Theory 1675-1775, which examines the distinct political ideas of the American revolution and the ideas of settler elites.

C. Bradley Thompson, the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the executive director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, will present the paper “On the Right to Revolution.” Thompson is the author of two books, including Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea and John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty. He is the editor of The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams and Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader.

Session Two: The American Founding: History and Theory

Old Main, Room 304, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Peter S. Onuf, an expert in the studies of the American revolution and early American Republic, will discuss “The American Founding, Inside-Out: Reflections on Recent Historical Writing.” Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Mind of Thomas Jefferson.

Michael Zuckert, the Nancy R. Dreux Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss “The American Amalgam; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love America's Multiple Traditions.” He has published extensively in both fields of political theory and constitutional studies. He has authored several books, including, Natural Rights and the New Republicanism; The Natural Rights Republic; and Launching Liberalism: John Locke and the Liberal Tradition, among others.

Monday, April 8

The American Founding and World Order

Old Main, Room 119, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Gerard Alexander, an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, will present the paper titled “Is America’s Founding Relevant in the World Today?” He is the author of The Sources of Democratic Consolidation and is currently researching and a book on the issues of race and the modern conservative movement in America. His previous work examined the conditions for stable democracy and the nation’s policy of democratization abroad.

David Hendrickson is a prolific writer and an American foreign policy scholar at Colorado College. He will present the paper “The Federal Constitution and International Order.” Hendrickson, a professor of political science, has authored seven books, including Union, Nation, or Empire: The American Debate over International Relations, 1789-1941 and Peace Pact: The Lost World of the American Founding.

Monday, April 15

Session 1: Lincoln and the Founders

Old Main, Room 119, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

James Read, a professor of political science at St. John’s University, has authored three books on American politics. He will present the paper “The Only True Sovereign of a Free People: Lincoln and Majority Rule” at the symposium. Read published Majority Rule versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun; Power versus Liberty: Madison, Hamilton, Wilson, and Jefferson; and Doorstep Democracy: Face to Face Politics in the Heartland.

Steven Kautz studies American political thought at Michigan State University where he is an associate professor of political science. He is the author of Liberalism and Community, a defense of classical liberalism, and is at work on a book regarding the political thought of Abraham Lincoln. Kautz has published several articles on the political theory of classical liberalism, including essays on toleration, privacy and the rule of law. He will present a paper titled “Lincoln’s Founding.”

Session 2: Political Economy

Old Main, Room 304, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Robert Wright, the Rudy and Marilyn Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana College, studies the American economy and directs the Thomas Willing Institute for the Study of Financial Markets, Institutions and Regulations. He presents the talk “‘The World’s Best Hope’: The U.S. Founders as Development Economists” at the symposium. Wright has appeared on National Public Radio, C-SPAN and BBC and authored or co-authored ten books, including One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson and the History of What We Owe, which explores the history of America’s first national debt.

Friday, April 19

James Madison

Old Main, Room 119, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Alan Gibson, a professor of political science at California State University at Chico, studies the political thought of James Madison and the American founding. Gibson has authored two books on the historiography of the American founding, including Interpreting the Founding: Guide to the Enduring Debates over the Origins and Foundations of the American Republic and Understanding the Founding: The Crucial Questions. He will deliver a paper titled “James Madison and the American Revolution of 1787.”

Related links:

Source: Utah State University Department of Political Science

Contact: Peter McNamara,

Add new Comment

We welcome your response. Your comment or question will be forwarded to the appropriate person. Please be sure to provide a valid email address so we can contact you, if needed. Your submission will NOT be published online. Thank you.

More News

All news


Utah State Today is available as a weekly e-mail update, with links to news, features, and events. Subscribers stay connected, whether on campus or off.

To receive Utah State Today every week, simply enter your e-mail address below.

Unsubscribe here.

Visit our social media hub

Visit our social media hub to see a snapshot of student life and find more USU social media accounts.

Learn more About USU