Political Theory Institute: “Sustaining Political Community in the Face of Political Violence: Lincoln on the Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions”
Abraham Lincoln’s speech “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” is a meditation on how political violence undermines constitutional self-government. In the aftermath of the January 6 events on Capitol Hill, what lessons can we take from Lincoln’s seminal speech on sustaining political community in the face of political violence?
Sunday, January 17, 2021 • 6:30 PM EST
A virtual lecture • American University
Free and open to the public, registration required.
Thomas 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 faculty partner.
Benjamin Kleinerman is the RW Morrison Professor of Political Science at Baylor University. He is also editor of The Constitutionalist and on the Board of Directors of the Jack Miller Center. Professor Kleinerman received his B.A. at Kenyon College in Political Science and his Ph.D. at Michigan State University in Political Science. Kleinerman was the founding Chair of the American Political Thought section of APSA. His research focuses mostly on presidential power in relation to the separation of powers. He has published articles on this subject in Perspectives on Politics, APSR, and several edited volumes, including Nomos and The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Professor Kleinerman’s first book, The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power, was published by the University Press of Kansas and he is currently working on a book titled The Crisis Presidency. Professor Kleinerman teaches classes on American political thought and political institutions.
Professor Kleinerman is a JMC board member and faculty partner.
The Political Theory Institute at American University’s School of Public Affairs encourages the serious study of the great questions of political theory and brings insights of political theorists to bear on current issues and events. American University has a long tradition of vigorous political debate. Behind every serious political controversy, however, lies a disagreement about political principles, justice, what constitutes “the good life,” or fundamental assumptions about human nature. A thoughtful and morally serious engagement with the controversies of the day, therefore, requires serious reflection on the underlying questions of political theory.
Open to all ideas and perspectives, the Political Theory Institute promotes vigorous and thoughtful discussion and critical engagement by American University faculty, the national and international political theory community, and policy makers with the problems confronting liberal democracies. It supports scholarship that informs and enriches the larger conversation about political ideas. Above all, the Political Theory Institute fosters a spirit of enlightened citizenship—at once thoughtful and engaged—that takes intellectual disagreements seriously without being ideological.
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