Constitution Day: Montesquieu and the U.S. Constitution

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Memorial Union Building - Theatre I
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Academic Event
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Rebecca Clark

In defending the new U.S. Constitution in the Federalist Papers #9. Alexander Hamilton explained that improvements in the science of politics made it possible to maintain republican government on a much a larger scale than ever thought possible. A major source of this new science of politics, and the potential for modern democracy, was the Spirit of the Laws by the French Baron de Montesquieu. Yet opponents of this new Constitution insisted that they were in fact the rightful heirs of Montesquieu's political science. What was this "new science of politics" Montesquieu offered, and how did he discover it? Was it the Federalists and their strong national government who were applying this science correctly, or the states-minded Antifederalists?

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