Academic Initiatives

The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Department of Politics at Princeton University is dedicated to exploring fundamental and enduring questions of political thought and constitutional law. The James Madison Program promotes a greater appreciation of the Western tradition of legal and political thought. It also supports the application of fundamental principles to modern social problems, particularly as they are manifested in the domain of public law. By supporting the study of foundational issues, the James Madison Program seeks to fulfill its mandate of offering civic education of the highest possible quality.

Program in American Ideas and Institutions (AIIP Track)

The Department of Politics, in collaboration with the James Madison Program, offers the Program in American Ideas and Institutions (AIIP), a departmental track for students who wish to further their understandings of the three branches of the federal government and the values, ideas, and theories that are animated by their workings. 

Sponsored Courses

The James Madison Program regularly sponsors courses on topics related to its mission, providing Princeton students with opportunities to study topics not otherwise offered and with senior visiting scholars from other institutions. Among our sponsored courses have been “The Philosophical Roots of the Conservative Outlook” for the Philosophy Department and “Natural Law in Judaism and Christianity” for the Religion Department.

Summer Programs

The James Madison Seminar on the Moral Foundations of the American Constitutional Order is a one-week residential seminar for postdoctoral and advanced graduate students in American political thought and political theory. Participants examine major interpretations of the founding, with a view to understanding the American constitutional order’s elements of republicanism, liberalism, natural law and natural rights, the common law, and Christianity.  

The James Madison Seminar on the Principles of American Politics is a one-week residential seminar for upper-level high-school students and rising college freshmen. Students explore the fundamental questions of equality and liberty in American political life.

edX Online

Through a partnership with edX, Princeton Online offers free courses taught by James Madison Program Director and McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Robert P. George.