The Constitution as political theory
2014 Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture
About This Event

The US Constitution is “the supreme law of the land” that establishes the framework of the federal government, determines its powers, and delineates a set of basic rights. But beyond its primary legal role, the Constitution — with the supporting commentary of “The Federalist Papers” — may be counted one of the major interlocutors in the discipline of political theory, engaging many of the fundamental questions of political life and entering into dialogue with other well-known authors and positions.

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceaser, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


4:45 PM

5:00 PM
Gary J. Schmitt, AEI

5:10 PM
James Ceaser, University of Virginia

6:00 PM
Adjournment and Wine and Cheese Reception

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Rebecca Burgess at [email protected], 202.419.5208.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

James W. Ceaser is the Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1976. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and has held visiting professorships at the University of Florence, University of Basel, University of Oxford, University of Bordeaux, and University of Rennes. He is the author of several books, including “Designing a Polity: America’s Constitution in Theory and Practice” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), “Nature and History in American Political Development” (Harvard University Press, 2008), “Liberal Democracy and Political Science” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), and “Presidential Selection” (Princeton University Press, 1979). He is coauthor, with Andrew Busch, of “After Hope and Change: The 2012 Elections and American Politics” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) and “The Perfect Tie: the True Story of the 2000 Presidential Election” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), among numerous other books. Ceaser is a frequent contributor to the popular press and comments on American politics for Voice of America.

Gary J. Schmitt is codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI and the director of AEI's Program on American Citizenship. Schmitt is a former staff director of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He was executive director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board during former President Ronald Reagan's second term. Schmitt's security work focuses on longer-term strategic issues that will affect America's security at home and its ability to lead abroad, while his work in the area of citizenship focuses on challenges to maintaining and sustaining a strong civic culture in America. His books include “Safety, Liberty and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism” (AEI Press, 2010), “The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition” (Encounter Books, 2009), “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (AEI Press, 2007), “Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence” (Potomac Books Inc., 2002), and “U.S. Intelligence at the Crossroads: Agendas for Reform” (Brassey’s Inc., 1995). Schmitt is also coauthor, with Cheryl Miller, of the forthcoming volume “Trendsetting Charter Schools: Raising the Bar for Civic Education” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

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