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Event Alert!: 2018 Walter Berns Annual Constitution Day Lecture with Diana Schaub

While the American political order is uniquely friendly to scientific advancement — as evidenced by the Constitution’s patent and copyright clause — many of the founders were also aware of the morally ambiguous character of the scientific quest. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all thought about science’s proper place in American life, but Abraham Lincoln’s “Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions” is arguably the most sustained treatment by an American statesman of the connections between scientific inquiry, human nature, and the fate of freedom.

Please join AEI for the seventh annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture, as Diana J. Schaub, professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland and visiting professor at Harvard University, traces how and why American statesmen deliberated about the intersection of science with moral and political questions.

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Constitutional Statesmanship: A New Project of AEI’s Program on American Citizenship

Created by AEI’s Program on American Citizenship, the Constitutional Statesmanship e-curriculum is a rich source of materials compiled to aid both teacher and student in the classroom instruction and learning of American history, government, civics, and social studies. This collection of primary source documents paired with video discussions highlights constitutional themes and challenges as experienced by key statesmen in our history. It seeks to educate both hearts and minds about American political principles, ideals, identity, and national character, and the virtues and aspirations of our civic life.

Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution is the first topic in the ongoing Constitutional Statesmanship series.

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Frederick Douglass on Lincoln and Emancipation

Before the Emancipation Proclamation, Frederick Douglass had been fiercely critical of Lincoln. But after Lincoln’s death, Douglass spoke appreciatively of Lincoln, praising his statesmanship in preserving the Union and emancipating slaves.

In this video, Diana Schaub, professor of political science at Loyola University-Maryland and Lucas Morel, professor of politics at Washington and Lee University, discuss in particular the April 14, 1876 speech Douglass delivered on the occasion of the dedication of the Freedmen’s Monument, which was the nation’s first statue of the slain president. Arguing that Lincoln had two goals in the recently ended war–to preserve the Union, and to emancipate the slaves–Douglass said that “but for the former, [Lincoln] could not do that latter.”

As Professor Morel notes, Frederick Douglass made a larger point to his audience and the nation about Lincoln’s statesmanship: Douglass used his oration to educate not just whites but blacks in terms of how politics could, and should, be done in a noble way.

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