Course Offerings

The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions is pleased to participate in and contribute to the academic life at Princeton University through its support of course offerings. The Program provides full funding support for courses that are of interest both to students in the Department of Politics and to students in other departments such as religion, philosophy, history, and the Woodrow Wilson School. Offered regularly is a course on American Statesmanship funded by the William Garwood family. 

Spring 2018 Course Offerings:

FRS 110 War, National Security, and the Constitution SA

Michael Stokes Paulsen, Distinguished University Chair and Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas; Spring 2018 James Madison Program Garwood Visiting Fellow and Visiting Professor in Politics
Times to be announced, Precepts to be announced

The United States is at war. Indeed, the nation has been in a constitutional and practical state of war continuously since September 11, 2001. This seminar will examine the constitutional law of war, national security, foreign affairs, and individual liberties in historical and contemporary settings. The seminar will serve as an introduction to the fascinating field of constitutional law generally, as applied in the specific context of some of the most important, difficult, and divisive questions of constitutional law and policy in our nation's history — questions of war, peace, international affairs, and national power — that continue to be of enormous importance today.

The seminar will begin with an introduction to constitutional law generally: the formation, structure, and allocation of government powers under the Constitution, and questions of constitutional interpretive methodology. The seminar will then turn to issues of (1) the Constitution's allocation of the power to declare war (or otherwise initiate military hostilities); (2) the President's powers as military "Commander in Chief"; (3) the Constitution's allocation of "foreign affairs" powers generally, and the relevance (and irrelevance) of "international law" for U.S. constitutional powers; (4) the U.S. constitutional war power as applied to persons — that is, matters concerning war prisoners, wartime detentions, torture and the Geneva Conventions, habeas corpus, and the use of military commission proceedings to try enemy combatants for offenses against the laws of war; (5) the constitutional status of "covert operations"; (6) the constitutional status of technological innovations in the conduct of war, including drone warfare and cyberwarfare; and (7) civil liberties issues in time of war — including freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and the constitutional status and rights of "alien" non-citizens under U.S. law.

The seminar requires no prior background in constitutional law — this will be truly an introductory constitutional law seminar — but it will assume as a "prerequisite" a passion for history and an interest in the Constitution. Students will be introduced to some of the classic "great cases" of constitutional law in United States history, and will have the opportunity to read several classic and modern Supreme Court decisions in original or edited form: Ex parte Merryman, The Prize Cases, Ex parte Milligan, Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, Korematsu v. United States, Ex parte Quirin, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Boumediene v. Bush, and others.

Michael Stokes Paulsen, Spring 2018 James Madison Program Garwood Visiting Fellow and Visiting Professor in Politics, is Distinguished University Chair & Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, where he has taught since 2007.  Professor Paulsen was previously the McKnight Presidential Professor of Law & Public Policy and Associate Dean at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he taught from 1991-2007.   He is a graduate of Northwestern University and Yale Law School and has served as a federal prosecutor, as Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, and as counsel for the Center for Law & Religious Freedom.  Professor Paulsen is the author of more than ninety scholarly articles and book chapters on a wide variety of constitutional law topics.  He is co-author, with Luke Paulsen, of The Constitution: An Introduction (Basic Books, 2015).  Professor Paulsen is also co-author of the casebook The Constitution of the United States, (with Steve Calabresi, Michael McConnell, Samuel Bray, and Will Baude, Foundation Press, 3d ed. 2017) and Editor of Our Constitution: Landmark Interpretations of America’s Governing Document (The Federalist Society 2013).



Fall 2017 Course Offerings:

*POL 332 (HA): Topics in American Statesmanship - Abraham Lincoln

Allen C. Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies, Gettysburg College; 2017-18 James Madison Program Garwood Visiting Professor and Garwood Visiting Fellow
T-TH 3:30 – 4:20 pm Lecture, Precepts to be announced

POL 332 has been made into a regularly offered Topics in American Statesmanship course, sponsored by the James Madison Program, and, as such, can be taken more than once as long as the topic changes.

This course will examine the political development, constitutional principles and practice of Abraham Lincoln, and especially grass-roots politics in the 19th century Republic, the international context of liberal democracy in the 19th century, the war powers of the presidency, the contest of Whig and Democratic political ideas, the relation of the executive branch to the legislative and judicial branches, diplomacy, and the presidential cabinet. Sample reading list: Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings: 1832-1858; Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings: 1859-1865, Mark E. Steiner, An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, Kenneth J. Winkle, The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln; Allen C. Guelzo, Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction; See instructor for complete list. Reading/Writing assignments: Reading assignments in assigned texts and recommended readings. A mid-term and final examination. A paper (10-12 pages). Requirements/Grading: Mid Term Exam - 25%; Final Exam - 25%; Papers - 25%; Class/Precept Participation - 25%.

Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era, and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, which won the Lincoln Prize for 2000, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, which won the Lincoln Prize for 2005, and Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America, which won the Abraham Lincoln Institute Prize for 2008. His most recent work in Lincoln is Abraham Lincoln As A Man of Ideas (a collection of essays published in 2009 by Southern Illinois University Press) and Lincoln, a volume in Oxford University Press’s ‘Very Short Introductions’ series (also 2009). His book on the battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Knopf, 2013) spent eight weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. His articles and essays have appeared in scholarly journals, and also in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has been featured on NPR, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and Brian’s Lamb’s BookNotes, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Union League of Philadelphia. In September, 2005, he was nominated by President Bush to the National Council on the Humanities, and in December, was awarded the Medal of Honor of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He has been a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (1991-92), the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (1992-93), the Charles Warren Center for American Studies at Harvard University (1994-95) and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University (2002-03, 2010-11). He is a Non-Resident Fellow of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University and a Research Scholar at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Together with Patrick Allitt and Gary W. Gallagher, he team-taught The Teaching Company’s new edition of its American History series, and has completed four other series for The Teaching Company, Mister Lincoln, on the life of Abraham Lincoln, The American Mind, on American intellectual history, The American Revolution, and Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past. He lives in Paoli and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with his wife, Debra.



Spring 2017 Course Offerings:

FRS 164: The Idea and the Reality of Justice

David F. Forte, 2015-16 James Madison Program Garwood Visiting Professor and Garwood Visiting Fellow
Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.


The United States Constitution declares as one of its purposes: "To establish justice." What did the Framers mean by that? How has the term "justice" been defined, contested, and implemented in history? What can poets, philosophers, playwrights, and great figures in history tell us about justice as a theory and as a practical guide to human action?

In this course, we will study philosophers, thinkers, and writers who have investigated the idea and the reality of justice. Using plays, novels, speeches, and motion pictures, among other sources, we will examine the idea of justice and how various figures and societies have historically conceived of and applied justice. We will also apply notions of justice to our own understanding of real problems of human law and action. For example: Are some kinds of inequality unjust while other kinds are just? How can our understanding of justice be applied to the treatment of animals, abortion, capital punishment, suicide, and war? What is justice in relation to God and the family? What are the cures for injustice?

Course materials include selections from Hobbes, Aristotle, Lincoln, and King, among others, and motion pictures such as "A Man for All Seasons" and "Justice at Nuremberg." There will be two short written reflections (3-5 pages) based on the readings and issues debated in class, and a final paper (10-12 pages). The final paper will be on a topic of the student's choosing in consultation with the professor. It may deal with a question of justice in the contemporary world, or a study of the ideas of justice presented by a writer not covered in the course.



Fall 2016 Course Offerings:

POL 332: Topics in American Statesmanship - The Successful President
David F. Forte, 2015-16 James Madison Program Garwood Visiting Professor and Garwood Visiting Fellow
Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30 – 4:20 p.m., with precepts 

POL 332 has been made into a regularly offered Topics in American Statesmanship course, sponsored by the James Madison Program, and, as such, can be taken more than once as long as the topic changes.  

The American Presidency is unique in the political history of the world. The Framers of the American Republic sought to merge two opposing principles: a vigorous unitary executive within a limited constitutional republic. Whether their experiment was successful or not has depended largely on the personality and character of those who occupied the office. We shall study that which makes for a successful presidency (or not) according to a set of standards: Adherence to the rule of law; Protection from foreign and domestic threat; Administrative competency; Economic policy; Unifying influence; Preservation of liberty; and Integrity. Readings will include Forrest MacDonald, The American Presidency, Harvey Mansfield, Taming the Prince, Edward Corwin, The President: Office and Powers, Joseph Bessette and Jeffrey Tulis, eds., The Presidency in the Constitutional Order, Biography of Washington or Lincoln, Sidney Milkis and Michael Nelson, The American Presidency: Origins and Development: 1776-2011. See instructor for complete list. Reading/Writing assignments: Mid Term Exam - 30%, Oral Presentation(s) - 10%, Term Paper(s) - 40%, Class/Precept Participation - 20%.

David F. Forte, 2016-17 James Madison Program Garwood Visiting Professor and Visiting Fellow, is Professor of Law at Cleveland State University, where he was the inaugural holder of the Charles R. Emrick, Jr.- Calfee Halter & Griswold Endowed Chair. His teaching focuses on Constitutional Law, the First Amendment, Islamic Law, Jurisprudence, Natural Law, International Law, International Human Rights, the Presidency, and Constitutional History. During the Reagan administration, he served as chief counsel to the United States delegation to the United Nations and alternate delegate to the Security Council. He has authored a number of briefs before the United States Supreme Court, and his work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. He has frequently testified before the United States Congress and consulted with the Department of State on human rights and international affairs issues. He has received a number of awards for his public service, including the Cleveland Bar Association’s President’s Award, the Cleveland State University Award for Distinguished Service, the Cleveland State University Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence. He served as Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family under Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. In 2003 he was a Distinguished Fulbright Chair at the University of Trento and returned there in 2004 as a Visiting Professor. He was a Bradley Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a Visiting Scholar at the Liberty Fund, and is adjunct Scholar at the Ashbrook Center. He has been appointed to the Ohio State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He served as book review editor for the American Journal of Jurisprudence and has edited a volume entitled, Natural Law and Contemporary Public Policy (Georgetown University Press). He authored Islamic Law Studies: Classical and Contemporary Applications (Austin & Winfield). He is Senior Editor of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (Regnery & Co, 2006), 2nd edition (2014), a clause-by-clause analysis of the Constitution of the United States. He holds degrees from Harvard College, Manchester University, England, the University of Toronto and Columbia University.


FRS 195: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. EM

Cornel West, Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies, Emeritus; Senior Scholar, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions

Monday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.


This Freshman Seminar course will examine the work and witness of two great prophetic figures of the 20th century: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. We shall explore the pietistic, prophetic, and poetic dimensions of the writings and the impact of their lives then and now. We also shall discern how they wrestle with the problematic of nihilism, namely the challenge of meaninglessness, hopelessness, lovelessness, and the possible triumph of "might makes right." We shall highlight their philosophical, spiritual, and moral response to the catastrophe of evil in the modern world. Papers - 40%, Oral Presentation(s) - 30%, Class/Precept Participation - 30%.  Sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.

Cornel West is Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies, Emeritus, and Senior Scholar in Politics and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, University of Paris, and Union Theological Seminary. He has written and edited over 30 books, including Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent releases, Black Prophetic Fire and Radical King, were received with critical acclaim. Dr. West is a frequent guest on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN, C-Span and Democracy Now. He made his film debut in the film The Matrix – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand. He has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and the late Gerald Levert. Cornel West has a passion to invite a variety of people from all walks of life into his world of ideas in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.