On Constitutional Statesmanship

An Alpheus T. Mason Lecture on Constitutional Law and Political Thought: The Quest for Freedom

February 22, 2007

Jeffrey K. Tulis, University of Texas at Austin

What is statesmanship?  When we lament the lack of great leaders in our time, we assume that statesmanship is some sort of lost ideal. In this lecture I will try to show how statesmanship was as much a constitutional problem to be solved as an ideal to be achieved.  I will describe this problem and outline a new idea of statesmanship created by the American Constitution. This Constitution rejects well established notions of great statesmanship from the past while still idealizing an alternative to common understandings of leadership today.

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