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Guest Richard Brookhiser discusses the Legacy of James Madison at USU

Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012



Peter McNamara


Political Science Department


Utah State University


Phone: (435) 797-1318


E-Mail: peter.mcnamara@usu.edu



LOGAN, UT – Journalist, historian and Guggenheim fellow Richard Brookhiser will discuss his book on founding father James Madison next month in a rescheduled visit to Utah State University.


The talk, “James Madison: Father of the Constitution, father of politics,” is sponsored by the university’s Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism.


Brookhiser, a longtime senior editor at National Review has authored 13 books, primarily focused on early American history and the founding fathers. His latest, James Madison, explores a lesser known role the fourth president played in establishing the first political party in America — a precursor to today’s Democratic Party.


“Madison was pivotal in the Constitutional Convention, pivotal in writing the Federalist Papers, and pivotal in establishing a Bill of Rights,” said Peter McNamara, associate professor of political science and co-director of the Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism. “He’s remembered for those great intellectual achievements, but he was also a political operator and a tough one too. He could be very partisan. He had a celebrity wife. There’s another side to him that I think Brookhiser is trying to bring out.”


Brookhiser’s first article was published in the “National Review” while in high school. After graduating from Yale University in 1977, Brookhiser was hired by the publication and has remained on staff ever since. His writings on politics and culture have appeared in many publications, including the “New York Observer,” “The New Yorker,” “Cosmopolitan” and “Vanity Fair.” Brookhiser wrote and hosted “Rediscovering George Washington” and “Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton,” for PBS. In 2008 he was awarded the National Medal for the Humanities.


His book “James Madison” provides a fresh take on an iconic figure in American history. Brookhiser delves into Madison’s push for partisan journalism and participation in the country’s first political machine. As interest in the founding fathers has resurged in recent years, the book shows that the men had important philosophical differences that are not always mentioned in political discussions.


“The perennial reason the founding fathers are still important is because they wrote the Constitution that still governs the country to this day,” McNamara said. “Any political issue quickly becomes a Constitutional issue and an invocation of the founding fathers becomes inevitable, but also controversial, because they disagreed with each other.”


The Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism invited Brookhiser to share his take on Madison Dec. 4 from noon-1 p.m. at the Taggart Center Auditorium.


The talk is free and open to the public and is followed by a book signing.



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