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Executive Precepts

Course Offerings (Fall 2011)


POL 332 (SA) –Democratic Statesmanship: Life-Stories and Speeches
Diana J. Schaub, 2011-12 Garwood Visiting Professor

Monday: 7:30 – 8:50 p.m.

POL 332 (SA) has been made into a regularly offered Topics in American Statesmanship course, sponsored by the James Madison Program, and, as such, can be taken more than once as the topic changes.  As this is the first time this particular topic has been offered, students who had POL 332 with Professor Guelzo or Professor Staloff are eligible to enroll along with everyone else.  The course will be taught by 2011-12 Garwood Visiting Professor of Politics Diana J. Schaub.  Professor Schaub is known as an outstanding classroom teacher as well as a scholar of great breadth and depth.  We strongly encourage you to taking it if you’d like to explore the greatness in the thought, characters, and actions of Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill.

This fall’s Democratic Statesmanship is a lecture course with precepts, with the lecture scheduled for Mondays from 7:30 to 8:50 p.m.  Here is its description:

"Statesmanship is distinct from ordinary political rule. It suggests excellence in both leadership and judgment. It also appears to be an activity in tension with democracy, where the people are said to rule. Yet popular government may depend on great statesmen for its establishment and maintenance. Is democratic statesmanship an oxymoron? How is the statesman different not only from the ordinary politician but from the tyrant or demagogue? This course will examine the speeches and deeds of three outstanding Anglo-American statesmen: Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill."

Readings will include Richard Brookhiser's Founding Father, Lord Charnwood's Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill's My Early Life and The Gathering Storm.  See instructor for complete list.  Reading/Writing assignments will consist of 150 pages of reading per week, and two papers (7-10 pages each). Requirements / Grading: Mid Term Exam - 10%, Final Exam - 30%, Papers - 40%, Class/Precept Participation - 20%.

Diana J. Schaub is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland. In 1994-95 she was the postdoctoral fellow of the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University.  In 2001, she was the recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters.  In 2004, she was appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics.  She is the author of Erotic Liberalism: Women and Revolution in Montesquieu’sPersian Letters” (Rowman & Littlefield, 1995), and coauthor (with Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass) of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song (ISI, 2011), along with a number of book chapters and articles in the fields of political philosophy and American political thought.  She is also a frequent contributor to opinion journals such as The Public Interest, The Claremont Review of Books, The Weekly Standard, and The New Atlantis.  She is a summa cum laude graduate of Kenyon College, with a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago.


FRS 113 (SA) – Debating the Constitution: 1787–1793
Bradford P. Wilson
Monday & Wednesday: 11:00 a.m–12:20 p.m.

Passionate debate about the relevance of the American Constitution to everyday politics is currently making a comeback. But how well is the Constitution understood? In this seminar, we shall explore the meaning and significance of the Constitution by means of an engagement with the spirited and sometimes fiery constitutional debates during the Founding period.

Among the issues to be considered are: (1) Was there really a “crisis” under the Articles of Confederation that required a new constitution? (2) Were the proceedings at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 themselves unconstitutional? (3) Is the Constitution merely a “bundle of compromises” with no guiding principles, or is there an underlying philosophy? (4) Why did the Constitution’s framers initially oppose a bill of rights? What were the arguments for and against? (5) What were the key objections of the Anti-Federalists to the proposed constitution, and what was the Federalists’ defense? We will conclude with the debates in the early 1790s among Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson over the constitutionality of George Washington’s domestic and foreign policies.

Seminar readings will focus on the writings of the statesmen involved in the debates, with a few secondary sources assigned to provide historical context. Participants will write short papers (1,000–1,200 words each) evaluating the arguments offered by the differing sides.

Sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions


FRS 161 (SA) – Republican Liberty and Religion: 1300–1900
Maurizio Viroli
Thursday: 7:30–10:20 p.m.

The purpose of the seminar is to explore the various ways in which political philosophers, jurists, artists, historians, and prophets have discussed the connections between religion and political liberty in Europe and in America. The main theoretical question underlying the seminar is whether republican liberty depends upon a religious basis, or can exist without it. Of equal importance are the similarities and differences between republican religion and different, often opposing, forms of political religion, like monarchical and totalitarian religion.

A distinctive feature of the seminar will involve the study of pictorial sources—Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government, the paintings in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice—that express with particular eloquence the religious content of republican liberty.

This seminar will offer students the possibility to compare American civil religion with previous forms of republican religion in Europe, and invite them to reflect critically on the power of religion in political life.

Sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
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