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Dec 07

Jefferson, Madison, and the Philosophical Foundations of America

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Calvin Coolidge once explained that “Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced.” On December 7, Dr. Garrett Sheldon will show how the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States did not appear out of thin air, but rather grew out of three distinct traditions: classical republicanism, British liberalism, and Christianity. Dr. Sheldon will explain how Thomas Jefferson and James Madison blended ideas from these three traditions to draft our founding documents. From classical republicanism, they derived the importance of civic virtue and political involvement; from British liberalism, they drew the concepts of natural rights and individual freedom; and from Christianity, they developed an appreciation of human limits and overruling divine Providence.

Garrett Ward Sheldon is The John Morton Beaty Professor of Politics at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He has authored ten books, including The Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and The Political Philosophy of James Madison. He has lectured at Oxford, Princeton, The University of Vienna in Austria, Moscow University, and the University of Istanbul. He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers and studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, The New School for Social Research, and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

More About the Speakers

Garrett Ward Sheldon, Ph.D.
The John Morton Beaty Professor of Political and Social Sciences, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

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David Azerrad, Ph.D. David Azerrad, Ph.D.

Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics and AWC Family Foundation Fellow Read More