Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship

Students at SCOTUS

The mission of the James Madison Program’s Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship is to discern, understand and critique the substance and style of statesmanship in modern democratic societies; to encourage the study of statesmanship in the Anglo-American political tradition, as it was inherited from the Greek and Roman classical past, through the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, the Civil War and the World Wars, to the present; and to present the findings of leading scholars of this statesmanship in public forums which will assist the general public in understanding and supporting examples of statesmanlike behavior in modern political environments.

Photo of Allen Guelzo

Meet the Director—Dr. Allen C. Guelzo

Dr. Allen C. Guelzo is a New York Times best-seller author, American historian and commentator on public issues. He has  written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles TimesThe Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science MonitorNational AffairsFirst ThingsU.S. News & World ReportThe Weekly StandardWashington MonthlyNational Review, the Daily Beast, and the Claremont Review of Books, and has been featured on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” and “On Point,” The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (2008), Meet the Press: Press Pass with David Gregory, The Civil War: The Untold Story (Great Divide Pictures, 2014), Race to the White House: Lincoln vs. Douglas (CNN, 2016), Legends and Lies: The Civil War (Fox, 2018), Reconstruction (PBS, 2019) and Brian Lamb’s “Booknotes.” In 2010, he was nominated for a Grammy Award along with David Straithern and Richard Dreyfuss for their production of the entirety of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (BBC Audio). In 2018, he was a winner of the Bradley Prize, along with Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal and Charles Kesler of the Claremont Institute.
He is Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship and Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. Previously, he was the Director of Civil War Era Studies and the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During 2010-11 and again in 2017-18, he served as the Wm.L. Garwood Visiting Professor in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He holds the MA and PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania. 


The James Madison Summer Seminar on the Theory and Practice of Statesmanship

June 21–25, 2021 (sessions will be held between 12:30 PM and 5:00 PM ET and hosted via Zoom*)

This one-week online seminar for college undergraduates will ask a fundamental question lying at the heart of politics and public life: What is statesmanship? From that, we will explore statesmanship’s defining qualities, why we seem to have so little of it in modern times, and whether we can aspire to statesmanship. We will examine four fundamental aspects of statesmanship:  

  1. The identifying characteristics (as opposed to ordinary political life, demagoguery, or tyranny) 
  2. What the classical political writers had to say about statesmanship (Aristotle, Cicero) 
  3. Lived examples: 18th-century (George Washington), 19th-century (Abraham Lincoln), and 20th-century (Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer) 
  4. Statesmanship in the Democratic Context – judicial statesmanship, administrative statesmanship, intellectual statesmanship 

Readings will be in primary sources including Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch, Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Weber, and Havel.

Additional information and a link to apply can be found here