Lectures & Presentations

Communication is one of the most quintessential aspects of being human.  Persuasion is the foundation of democratic governance.  Fostering civil discourse and using language to engage critical thinking are the most important aspects of a liberal arts education.

♦ Recent Lectures & Presentations ♦

♦ Part of a panel discussion for Constitution Day, “The U.S. Constitution: A Discussion of Rights and Citizenship,” with Pippa Holloway and Jay Cost at Montpelier; sponsored by the Virginia Law Foundation, September 16, 2023.

♦ Presented “Definite and Indefinite Articles: Revisiting the Articles of Confederation,” for a group of We the People coaches at Montpelier, July 19, 2023.

♦ Presented tips on “Creating New Graduate Opportunities for Civics Teachers” for a conference held by the Jack Miller Center, Chicago, October 14, 2022.

♦ Presented (virtually) “Assessing the Records of the Constitutional Convention” to a constitutional history seminar taught by Lorianne Updike Toler at Northern Illinois University’s College of Law, October 6th, 2022.

♦ Presented “Celebrate the Constitution” at a (belated) Constitution Day event at the National Ground Intelligence Center, September 27, 2022.,

♦ Presented paper, “Madison’s Antislavery Constitution,” at Shawnee conference at Baylor University, April 29, 2022.

♦ Presented “Madison’s Anti-Slavery Constitution” for the Tocqueville Forum on Liberal Democracy at Christendom College, March 24, 2022.

♦ Presented “James Madison on Factions and Parties” for a Leadership Scholars Seminar at Appalachian State, Feb. 7, 2022.

♦ Presented “The Founders’ Vision of Civic Education,” for a panel discussion at an event titled, “Civic Education: Liberalism and the Role of Virtue,” hosted by The National Association of Scholars in partnership with the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization at the University of Colorado Boulder on November 17, 2021.

♦ Participated in roundtable panel discussion (virtual), “1619 and the State of American History,” September 10, 2020, at annual conference of the American Political Science Association (virtual).

♦ Presented a paper, “The American Congress as Institutionalized Prudence” at a conference on “Science, Common Sense, and Prudence,” co-sponsored by the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University and the Peoria Project, December 5-7, 2019.

♦ Gave keynote address, “James Madison: ‘Father of the Constitution’?” for the John Marshall International Center for the Study of Statesmanship, University of Richmond, May 16-18, 2019.

♦ Presented, “Madison on Slavery and Representation,” for the Tocqueville Forum at Washington and Lee University, March 22, 2019.

♦ Presented paper, “Is it Possible to Assassinate a Character which Succumbed to Suicide?:  The Case of Charles Pinckney and James Madison,” at the second annual conference of the Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) at George Mason University, March 15-17, 2019.

♦ Took part in a roundtable panel discussion, “Madison’s Notes to the Convention: Trusted Historical Source or Fake News?” at annual conference of the American Political Science Association, September 1, 2018.

♦ Presented paper, “Writing Federalist No. 10 for an Antifederalist Audience,” for the A.V. Elliott Conference on Great Books and Ideas, “Federalists and Anti-Federalists,” sponsored by the McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles at Mercer University, March 26-27, 2018.

♦ Presentation, “Are Madison’s Notes Trustworthy?,” part of a Constitution Day panel discussion, “Legacies of Constitutional Interpretation,” at the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 15, 2017.

♦ Presented paper, “Madison’s Antislavery Constitution,” at a scholars’ conference at Montpelier, “James Madison and the American Constitution,” May 26-27, 2017.

♦ Moderated talk, “Margaret Thatcher and the Leadership Lessons of the Falklands War,” at symposium, “Not for Turning: The Leadership & Legacy of Margaret Thatcher,” sponsored by Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond, March 31, 2017.

♦ Presentation, “Recovering Civil Discourse in American Politics: A Template for Hope,” delivered at different times for The Institute for the Public Trust: once to a group of young African American leaders (co-sponsored by the Responsible Leadership Institute); once to a group of aspiring leaders from the Charlotte community; and once to a group of lawyers who aspired to be leaders (in partnership with the North Carolina Bar Association’s Public Service Academy)—on Nov. 3 and March 24 and 28, 2017.

♦ Presentation, “Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention: ‘The Gratification Promised to Future Curiosity,’” delivered in honor of the launch of the Quill Project, Pembroke College, Oxford, October 14, 2016.

♦ Delivered paper, “Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention: Historical Records or Historical Fiction?” to a scholars’ conference at Montpelier, “James Madison and the American Constitution,” June 10-12, 2016.

♦ Delivered paper, “Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention: Historical Records or Historical Fiction?” to the James Madison Program at Princeton University, May 11, 2016.

♦ Presentation: “The American Rhetorical Tradition (Or, How to Go into Politics without Losing Your Soul),” a discussion presented to a group of students at the Baylor School, in Chattanooga Tennessee, through a program designed to train future leaders, jointly organized by the Baylor School and the Institute for the Public Trust, May 8, 2016.

♦ Delivered paper, “Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention: Are they Reliable?” to a small group at Pembroke College, Oxford, sponsored by The Seminar in Constitutional Thought and History, April 20, 2016.

♦ Delivered paper, “James Madison’s Constitution: In Order to Establish Justice,” a Constitution Day Address for the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, September 22, 2015.

♦ Delivered Constitution Day Address for the Central Intelligence Agency, “The Constitution: Past, Present and Beyond,” sponsored by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Office, September 17, 2015.

♦ Delivered lecture, “Connecting with the Constitution,” for a program sponsored by Brookings Executive Education (a partnership of Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis) on Motivating People, designed for federal employees, September 9, 2015.

♦ Helped organize conference for scholars who were currently writing on topics related to James Madison, held at Montpelier May 26-27, 2015.

♦ Presented, “The Real Reason George Mason was an Antifederalist,” to the Board at Gunston Hall, October 12, 2014.

♦ Presented, “Dolley Madison: Jefferson’s Official Hostess and Unofficial Diplomat,” for University of Virginia Lifetime Learning’s “Jefferson Symposium,” June 20, 2014.

♦ Delivered, “Madison’s Abolitionist Constitution,” to a select group of students and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, respectively, April 1 and 2, 2014.

♦ Presented, “Unite and Conquer: James Madison’s Strategy for Resisting Federal Usurpations,” at a joint Brookings Institution-Center for the Constitution conference on James Madison’s Political Thought, November 24, 2013.

♦ Lectured on the “Right to Revolution” for the Center for the Study of the American Constitution, a summer institute for high school teachers in Madison, WI, July 9, 2013.

♦ Gave weekly lectures on “James Madison’s role as Father of the Constitution” to the guests at Montpelier – delivered in the guise of Dolley Madison (see DolleyPMadison.com), Summers, 2010 and 2011.

♦ Presented, “The Limitations of Human Nature: Accounting for the Constitution’s Slavery Compromises,” for a faculty research seminar at the University of Richmond, April 15, 2011.

♦ Presented, “The Founders’ Firewall against Demagoguery,” at a conference of The Philadelphia Society, September 25, 2010.

♦ Presented, “What does it Mean to be a Regime?” for the three sections of the American Political Tradition course at the University of Virginia, August 28, 2008 and September 4, 2009.

♦ Presented, “The Other Great Compromise: George Mason’s Defection from the Constitutional Convention,” at Gunston Hall, April 4, 2006.

♦ Presented, “Tocqueville on the American Woman,” to the combined Social World group at Baylor University, April 8, 2003.

♦ Presented “The Question of the Ethical Life: Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern” to the combined Social World group at Baylor University, September 26, 2002.

♦ Presented “Our Inalienable Right to Liberty: The American Founding as an Incomplete Rejection of Aristotle’s Distinction between Natural and Conventional Slavery,” at the SWPSA (Southwestern Political Science Association) Conference in Fort Worth, March 16, 2001.

♦ Presented “A History and Analysis of the Electoral College” to a small private group at the House of Lords, London, during the election crisis of 2000.

♦ Presented a lecture on “Beatrice and the Beauty of a Virtuous Lady” for a Woman’s Colloquium at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Fall, 1999.