UW Madison: The Missouri Compromise at 200

Slave-Free States Map

The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy: “Missouri Compromise at 200”


The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy will hold a one-day conference discussing the Missouri Compromise and its legacy. JMC fellows Thomas Merrill and Jim Zink will be speaking and S. Adam Seagrave will serve as a discussant.

At a time when the United States was precariously balanced with an even number of slave and free states, Missouri’s proposal for statehood as a slave-holding state threatened to tip the scales. The Missouri Compromise, allowing Maine to join as a free state along with Missouri, provided an uneasy solution to the crisis for a time. Two hundred years later, how should we view the Missouri Compromise?

Thursday, November 21, 2019, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The University Club • University of Wisconsin – Madison

Breakfast and lunch will be available for registered attendees. Registration will open October 20, 2019. Direct any questions regarding these events to csld@wisc.edu or call 608-263-1877.

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Thomas MerrillThomas Merrill is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He is the author of Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2015), which won the Delba Winthrop Prize for Best Recent Work in Political Philosophy. He is also the co-editor of three edited volumes, including The Political Thought of the Civil War (University Press of Kansas, 2018) and has held fellowships from Harvard, Princeton, and the American Enterprise Institute. He was a senior research analyst for the President’s Council on Bioethics during the George W. Bush administration and is the Associate Director of the Political Theory Institute at American University, which has hosted many public intellectuals from across the political spectrum as well as many academic political theorists. He has served as coordinator of the undergraduate program in Government and, more recently, as chair of the Department of Government.

Professor Merrill is a JMC fellow.

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Jim ZinkJim Zink is an Associate Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University. His teaching and writing interests include political theory, American political thought, and constitutionalism. Much of his recent work focuses on James Wilson’s role in the development of the U.S. Constitution. His work has appeared in several journals, including American Political Thought, Political Science Quarterly, and The Review of Politics.

Professor Zink is a JMC fellow.

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Adam SeagraveS. Adam Seagrave is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University, as well as Associate Director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and Associate Director of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership. He holds editorial roles with three journals: American Political Thought (University of Chicago Press), Starting Points, and Compass. Professor Seagrave’s teaching and research focus on American political principles, including both their application in American political history and their antecedents in intellectual history. He holds a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.

Professor Seagrave is a JMC fellow.

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The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at University of Wisconsin – Madison seeks to promote appreciation and critical understanding of the cardinal principles and institutions of liberal democracy while advancing intellectual diversity. These principles and institutions include constitutionalism and rule of law, the meaning and scope of freedom and free markets in a democratic order, the place and role of religion in liberal democracies, and competition between liberal democracy and competing ideologies, including various forms of autocracy and new political religions.

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