Kinder Institute: James Madison Symposium

Kinder Institute: James Madison Symposium


The Kinder Institute at the University of Missouri, a JMC partner program, will be holding a symposium on the political thought and career of James Madison, focusing specifically on Madison’s conception of an impartial republic and his “third hand clapping” interpretation of the necessary and proper clause. Kinder Institute Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow Alan Gibson and JMC faculty partner Michael Zuckert, Nancy Reeves Dreux Emeritus Professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame, will lead the January 24th symposium.

“What James Madison Problem?: James Madison and the Creation of an Impartial Republic, 1780-1792” (Alan Gibson)

James Madison is often said to have feared majority tyranny and favored a strong central government as a nationalist constitutional reformer in the 1780s but then reversed course in the 1790s to become a Jeffersonian proponent of states’ rights. Focusing on Madison’s bedrock commitment to the creation and administration of an impartial republic from 1780 to 1792, Alan Gibson will argue that the “James Madison Problem” of inconsistency is mostly an illusion and establish the importance of impartiality as an underappreciated dimension of Madison’s political thought.

“The Sound of the Third Hand Clapping” (Michael Zuckert)

Scholars have typically interpreted the famous national bank case of McCullough v Maryland as pivoting on whether a Hamiltonian “broad construction” or Jeffersonian “strict construction” reading of the “necessary and proper clause” of the Constitution was best. In his presentation, Michael Zuckert will resurrect from obscurity and defend an alternative interpretation of the necessary and proper clause proposed by James Madison. Madison’s “third hand clapping,” Zuckert will argue, merits reconsideration as the most constitutionally correct of the batch readings about the necessary and proper clause proposed during the American Founding.

Friday, January 24, 2020 • 3:30 PM
Jesse Hall, Room 410 • University of Missouri

Free and open to the public

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Michael ZuckertMichael Zuckert is the Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science, Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and Founding Editor of American Political Thought. 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. He has published extensively on a variety of topics, including George Orwell, Plato, Shakespeare, and contemporary liberal theory and is currently completing Natural rights and the New Constitutionalism, a study of American constitutionalism in a theoretical context.

Professor Zuckert is a JMC faculty partner.

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The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri is an interdisciplinary, signature academic center on the Columbia campus, jointly operated by faculty from the Political Science and History Departments, in cooperation with other scholars across campus. It is dedicated to excellence in research, teaching, and community engagement on the subjects of American political thought, history, and institutions, with a particular emphasis on the ideas and events of the American Founding and their continued global impact and relevance today. It was created in 2015 by a generous gift from the Kinder Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation started by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, Texas.

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