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Sep 17

Picture of Silver, Apple of Gold: Withstanding the Assault on America's Constitutional Principles

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Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Abraham Lincoln once described the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as an apple of gold set within a picture of silver.  By this he meant that the Declaration articulated the foundational principles of America, and the Constitution complemented - or adorned - the Declaration by delineating the institutional structures of American politics.  Beginning in the 20th Century, progressives have been calling for a "living constitution" which would not be bound by eternal truths of the Declaration but would adjust or evolve as the necessities of modern times dictated.  The New Deal and then the Great Society continued this assault on the old constitutional order.  This attempt to divorce the Constitution from the eternal principles of limited government is by no means finished.  Indeed, America has entered a new and more dangerous phase.  Are we prepared - and are we able - to withstand this assault and recover America's constitutional principles?

Charles R. Kesler is a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute, Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College.  Dr. Kesler also teaches in the Claremont Institute's Publius Fellows Program and Lincoln Fellows Program.  He is Editor of Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding (Free Press, 1987), and Co-Editor, with William F. Buckley, Jr., of Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought (HarperCollins, 1988).  He has written extensively on American constitutionalism and political thought, and his edition of The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics, 2003) is the best-selling edition in the country.  Dr. Kesler received his A.B. in Social Studies (1978) and his A.M. and Ph.D. in Government (1985) from Harvard University.

More About the Speakers

Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D.
Editor of the Claremont Review of Books,
and Professor of Government,
Claremont McKenna College

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Edwin Meese III Edwin Meese III

Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus Read More