Introducing the John Dickinson Forum

JMC is pleased to introduce the John Dickinson Forum for the Study of America’s Founding Principles, a new academic center at George Fox University under the direction of JMC faculty partner Mark David Hall.

The John Dickinson Forum, a JMC partner program, is kicking off with a speaker series supported by the Jack Miller Center through a grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. This series and partner program is an inaugural step in JMC’s Pacific Northwest Initiative, which seeks to expand JMC programming in the Northwest.

In his lectures on law, James Wilson remarked that “there is not in the whole science of politicks a more solid or a more important maxim than this–that of all governments, those are the best, which, by the natural effect of their constitutions, are frequently renewed or drawn back to their first principles.” The mission of the John Dickinson Forum is to promote thoughtful study, discussion, and debate about America’s founding principles.  As well, we hope to encourage conversations about whether or how these principles are relevant today.


>> Learn more about the John Dickinson Forum

The John Dickinson Forum’s first event will be a talk by Nicholas Buccola, a political theorist at Linfield College and JMC faculty partner, on “Frederick Douglass: In Pursuit of American Liberty.” It will be held at 6:30 pm on March 7 in Hoover 105, and is free and open to the public.



Mark David HallMark David Hall is Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics and Faculty Fellow at the William Penn Honors Program at George Fox University. His primary research and writing interests are American political theory and the relationship between religion and politics.

He has written and edited a number of books, including Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (Oxford University Press, 2014), Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic (Oxford University Press, 2013), and America’s Forgotten Founders (2011). Among the “forgotten founders” that Hall seeks to bring back to America’s attention is the Pennsylvania revolutionary and statesman John Dickinson, after whom Hall’s new center is named.

Hall has also written more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, reviews and sundry pieces. Among these is as a study for the Heritage Foundation titled “Did America Have a Christian Founding?” that has gained national attention for its comprehensive and rigorous analysis of this controversial question. In addition to teaching at George Fox University, Mark is Associated Faculty at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and an Affiliate Scholar at the John Jay Institute. He contributes regularly to the blogs Law and Liberty and Learn Liberty.

>> Learn more about Professor Hall at GFU
>> Professor Hall on Wikipedia

Professor Hall is available for public speaking on the following topics:

“Did America Have a Christian Founding?”

“Jeffersonian Walls and Madisonian Lines: The Supreme Court’s Use of History and the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses”

“Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic”

“Distorted Realities: Faith and the Founders of the American Republic”

“Religious Liberty and Same-Sex Wedding Ceremonies: Historic Precedents, Future Possibilities”

“Why Tolerate Religion? The Rise and Fall of Religious Liberty in America”



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