Kinder Institute: Rethinking the History of American Government

1862 diagram of federal government

Kinder Institute: “Rethinking the History of American Government”


On October 23, 2019, Gautham Rao will lecture at the Kinder Institute at the University of Missouri, a JMC partner program, on recent scholarly approaches to grappling with the paradox of American government.

Since the founding of the American republic, scholars and commentators have tried to make sense of the puzzling design and effectiveness of the American state. From John Adams to Alexis de Tocqueville, from Hegel to Woodrow Wilson, they have tried to come to terms with the fact that a state that has done so much often comes to appear distant and innocuous. Professor Rao’s discussion will review the most recent scholarly attempts to comprehend the paradox of American government, while also recommending some possible new horizons for future research.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 • 5:00 PM
Jesse Hall, Room 410 • University of Missouri

Free and open to the public

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Rao, GauthamGautham Rao is an Associate Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C. A legal historian of revolutionary and early republican America, he has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Samuel I. Golieb Fellow of Legal History at NYU School of Law, and he currently serves as Editor of Law and History Review, the leading scholarly journal of legal history. Professor Rao’s first book, National Duties: Customs Houses and the Making of the American State, was published in 2016 by University of Chicago Press, and he is presently at work on projects examining the legal history of slavery and the law of conspiracy in American history.

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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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