Constitution Day 2019: Political Philosophy and the American Founding

Tuesday, September 17th, 7:00–8:30 PM
First United Methodist Church, 262 North 3rd Street, Lander, WY
Open to the public
Watch Live Stream Online


Constitution Day, the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17th, 1787, offers us an opportunity to reflect on our political heritage and the fundamental framework within which our ordinary, day-to-day and year-to-year political life occurs.

Americans were fortunate to have “enlightened statesmen” at the “helm” of our ship of state during the Founding period, when the Constitution, which remains the “supreme law of the land,” was debated, written, and ratified. But in what sense were the Founders “enlightened”? In other words, what were the philosophical underpinnings of the constitutional order that the Founders established—what was the foundation of our Founding? Did they adopt the modern political philosophy of social contract thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke? To what extent were they influenced by Aristotle, Cicero, and most immediately, English constitutional history?

Increasingly, contemporary critics of American politics—both liberal and conservative—trace our political difficulties to the philosophical assumptions contained in the Founding. This year, Wyoming Catholic College professors will ask whether the statesmanship of the American Founders should be associated with a specific political philosophy, and if so, which one, tracing the practical consequences of these questions to our present political situation.

Join us in Lander or online for an evening of conversation, conviviality, and patriotic songs.

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