American Political Thought Journal: Summer 2023 Issue
American Political Thought: A Journal of Ideas, Institutions, and Culture, has recently published its Summer 2023 issue, which includes pieces by JMC scholars Anthony Sparacino, George Thomas, Rogers Smith, Michael Zuckert, and Vincent Phillip Muñoz. This issue features a special “Author Meets Critics” section on Vincent Phillip Muñoz’s recent book, Religious Liberty and the American Founding.
>> Table of Contents <<
- “Small-Town Life and Difference,” Elly Long
- “The Other Souls of Black Folk: George Washington Woodbey and the Spirit of Socialism,” Keidrick Roy
- “The Rise of the Democratic and Republican Mayoral Caucuses and the Nationalization of American Party Politics,” Anthony Sparacino
Author Meets Critics: Vincent Phillip Muñoz’s Religious Liberty and the American Founding:
- “Madison’s Non Sequitur: A Comment on Vincent Phillip Muñoz’s Religious Liberty and the American Founding,” Andrew Koppelman
- “Religious Liberty and Its Implications for Church and State,” George Thomas
- “Religious Liberty and the American Founding and American Constitutionalism in the Twenty-First Century,” Rogers M. Smith
- “Muñoz, Madison, Rights,” Michael Zuckert
- “The Possibility and Meaning of the Natural Right of Religious Liberty: A Response,” Vincent Phillip Muñoz
- “The Emergence and Fundamental Centrality of James Madison’s Federalist 37: Historians, Political Theorists, and the Recentering of Meaning in The Federalist,” Todd Estes
- “The Contingency of Despair,” Philip Yaure
- “Cords of Affection: Constructing Constitutional Union in Early American History, by Emily Pears,” Stuart Steichler
- “Lyman Trumbull and the Second Founding of the United States, by Paul M. Rego,” Ilan Wurman
- “A Political Economy of Justice, edited by Danielle Allen, Yochai Benkler, Leah Downey, Rebecca Henderson, and Josh Simons,” Brandon Rudolph Davis
- “The Death of Learning: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do about It, by John Agresto,” Bob Pepperman Taylor
“The Rise of the Democratic and Republican Mayoral Caucuses and the Nationalization of American Party Politics,” Anthony Sparacino
“This article examines the origins and early activities of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and the National Conference of Republican Mayors. I argue that the rise of partisan mayoral caucuses crystallized deeply rooted debates over the place of cities within the American political tradition. No longer collections of disparate locally rooted organizations, the parties reflected programmatic visions of urban governance in their national programs. Mayors turned to the national parties in response to changes in intergovernmental policies during the Ford administration. In doing so, they contributed to the development of the national party-as-organization and a more integrated party system. Democratic mayors, typically leading big cities that suffered owing to the urban crisis, acted as an urban lobby within their party and urged the party to focus on urban affairs. Republican mayors, typically representing smaller, “newer” cities, promoted a more limited intergovernmental agenda while encouraging mayoral involvement in the national party-as-organization.”
Anthony Sparacino is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Richmond. Dr. Sparacino’s research interests focus on the origins and development of American political parties and ideology. His published work can be found in journals including American Political Thought and Studies in American Political Development as well as edited volumes on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the #NeverTrump movement. He is currently researching the development of national party caucuses for mayors and states’ attorneys general; the role of state parties during and in the aftermath of the 2020 election; and the use of public-private partnerships by American presidents in fostering political coalitions.
Professor Sparacino is a JMC fellow.
“Religious Liberty and Its Implications for Church and State,” George Thomas
Faculty partner George Thomas reflects on Vincent Phillip Muñoz’s recent book: “It is refreshing to read a scholarly work on both the founding and the relationship between politics and religion that highlights the limits of our knowledge, which is one of the distinct virtues of Vincent Phillip Muñoz’s Religious Liberty and the American Founding. This well-researched, thoughtful, and careful work seeks to illuminate how the founders understood both religious liberty and the separation of church and state. It concludes that the founders overwhelmingly viewed religious liberty as an inalienable natural right, while they disagreed quite sharply on what this meant for church-state relations…”
George Thomas is the Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at Claremont McKenna College. He is the winner of the American Political Science Association’s 2006 Alexander L. George Award for the Best Article on Qualitative Methods and serves as an officer for the American Political Thought section of APSA. Professor Thomas specializes in the topics of American constitutionalism, American political thought, constitutional law, and the Supreme Court. He has written extensively on the Constitution, the Founders, and the history of American education. Aside from his latest book, The (Un)Written Constitution, he is the author of The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and he has published articles in Perspectives on Politics, Polity, National Affairs, and Critical Review, among others.
Professor Thomas is a JMC faculty partner.
“Religious Liberty and the American Founding and American Constitutionalism in the Twenty-First Century,” Rogers M. Smith
Faculty partner Rogers Smith continues the “Author Meets Critics” conversation, examining understandings of religious liberty throughout American history: “Religious Liberty and the American Founding (Muñoz 2022) is the best book I have read on its topic. It also could not be timelier, because the topic of religious liberty is central to some of the most pressing and difficult constitutional, political, and moral issues in American life today. I will briefly state why the book is excellent. Even though the book examines many vital issues in depth, I will turn quickly to two very large issues that go beyond the book, because its greatest value may be in how it can stimulate and aid thinking on those issues…”
Rogers M. Smith is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He centers his research on constitutional law, American political thought, and modern legal and political theory, with special interests in questions of citizenship, race, ethnicity and gender. He was elected as an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow in 2004, a Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2011, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2016. Professor Smith was also voted President-Elect of the American Political Science Association for 2017-2018, and served as President of the American Political Science Association from 2018-2019. He was the founding director of the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy and the co-founder of the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia.
Professor Smith is a JMC faculty partner.
“Muñoz, Madison, Rights,” Michael Zuckert
Faculty partner Michael Zuckert examines the treatment of natural rights in Muñoz’s book: “My colleague Phillip Muñoz has written a book both very excellent and very provocative. Some of my fellow symposiasts have been provoked to dissent firmly from his normative orientation around the idea of natural rights. As someone who has written two books with “natural rights” in their titles, it can be no surprise that I am not provoked in this way.
I wish to pursue further the natural rights approach developed by Muñoz. This is valid and desirable no matter what views we may have about natural rights because it is called for by our duty to the “original public meaning” of the Constitution, as Muñoz’s research reveals…”
Michael P. Zuckert is the Nancy R. Dreux Professor of Political Science, Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. He has published extensively in both Political Theory and Constitutional Studies. His books include Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, the Natural Rights Republic, Launching Liberalism, and (with Catherine Zuckert) The Truth About Leo Strauss and Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy, in addition to many articles. He has also edited The Spirit of Religion & the Spirit of Liberty and (with Derek Webb) The Antifederal Writings of the Melancton Smith Circle. He is completing Natural Rights and the New Constitutionalism, a study of American constitutionalism in a theoretical context. Professor Zuckert taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Political Philosophy and Theory, American Political Thought, American Constitutional Law, American Constitutional History, Constitutional Theory, and Philosophy of Law. His advising specialties were graduate programs in political science. He is a 2019 Visiting Professor in Arizona State University’s School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership. He co-authored and co-produced a public radio series, Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson: A Nine Part Drama for the Radio. He was also senior scholar for Liberty! (1997), a six-hour public television series on the American Revolution and served as senior advisor on the PBS series on Ben Franklin (2002) and Alexander Hamilton (2007).
Professor Zuckert is a JMC faculty partner.
“The Possibility and Meaning of the Natural Right of Religious Liberty: A Response,” Vincent Phillip Muñoz
Faculty partner Vincent Phillip Muñoz responds the preceding essays: “I find it deeply gratifying to have my work scrutinized so seriously by scholars whom I hold in such high regard. Two primary themes emerge in the four reviews: (1) whether a natural rights approach to American constitutionalism is possible in this century, and (2) whether I have adequately and accurately captured James Madison’s natural rights constitutionalism.
Let me preface my response by returning to the idea that guides the book as a whole. Whether a recovery of natural rights constitutionalism is possible requires first that we understand the founders’ natural rights philosophy, including the philosophical and theological foundations on which it rests, and then that we deduce the constitutional doctrines that follow from it. My book’s primary aim is to articulate and explain the founders’ thought. Only after we comprehend their natural rights constitutionalism can we then consider whether we ought to attempt to return to it in our law and politics…”
Vincent Phillip Muñoz is the Tocqueville Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame. He also serves as the Founding Director of Notre Dame’s Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government.
Dr. Muñoz writes and teaches across the fields of political philosophy, constitutional studies, and American politics. His research has focused on the theme of religious liberty and the American Constitution. His first book, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson (Cambridge University Press, 2009), won the Hubert Morken Award from the American Political Science Association for the best publication on religion and politics in 2009 and 2010. His First Amendment church-state casebook, Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents, was published in 2013 (Rowman & Littlefield, revised edition 2015) and is being used at Notre Dame and other leading universities.
Professor Muñoz is a JMC faculty partner.
American Political Thought: A Journal of Ideas, Institutions, and Culture is a JMC supported journal that bridges the gap between historical, empirical, and theoretical research. It is the only journal dedicated exclusively to the study of American political thought. Interdisciplinary in scope, APT features research by political scientists, historians, literary scholars, economists, and philosophers who study the foundation of the American political tradition. Research explores key political concepts such as democracy, constitutionalism, equality, liberty, citizenship, political identity, and the role of the state.
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