"Unlike most of the 111 that preceded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the national regime and civic culture the Founders bequeathed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism."
The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
- the nature of free political institutions and the cultural conditions for their establishment and maintenance;
- the relationship between political institutions and institutions of civil society, and that between political liberty and civic virtue;
- the implications of such doctrines as the rule of law, subsidiarity, and social solidarity for the scope and limits of governmental authority; federalism;
- the moral bases of private property and free enterprise; the constitutional separation of powers and systems of checks and balances;
- executive leadership; democratic deliberation and accountability; judicial independence and the scope and limits of judicial power;
- America's role in the world and the conduct of her relations with foreign powers;
- the place of religion and religiously informed moral judgment in American public life.
In addressing these concerns, students and faculty explore the thought of America's founders and leading statesmen, including Madison, Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Lincoln, and King. They also consider the contributions of thinkers who shaped the understanding that fed the American founding and continue to shape the American civic idea. Among these are Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, More, Erasmus, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, Sidney, and Locke. And not to be neglected are the insights of perceptive foreign commentators on American ideals and institutions, including Tocqueville, Churchill, and Solzhenitsyn. The Madison Program's goals and activities include enhancing Princeton's undergraduate curriculum in constitutional studies; supporting graduate student and faculty scholarship that advances understanding of American ideals and institutions; sponsoring visiting scholars; and promoting scholarly collaborations.
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