James Madison

Dear Supreme Court Justices, Last week, you agreed to hear two landmark cases about gay marriage. In the broader of the two cases, which comes out of California, you could establish same-sex marriage nationwide as a matter of constitutional right. This is a ruling that most gay Americans would celebrate as a historic victory for civil rights. But I want to suggest that you make history, and advance the cause of gay equality, in a different way: by butting out. I bow to no one in my support for marriage equality.

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How Alexander Hamilton and a Swiss anti-Federalist created our country's capitalist system.

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If Obama wins in November, we will have the first run of three consecutive presidents who've won re-election since the early 1800s.

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Are there lessons to be learned from the implosion of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign over the past month? Several come easily to mind, from the virtues of campaign organization, to the importance of message discipline. But there’s another that deserves attention: namely, that serving as Speaker of the House is a highly dubious qualification in preparation for assuming the presidency.

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The Mirage

I. The American dream of politics without conflict, and of politics without political parties, has a history as old as American politics. Anyone carried along on the political currents since 2008, however, might be forgiven for thinking that the dream is something new—and that a transformative era was finally at hand, in which the old politics of intense partisan conflict, based on misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misanthropy, could be curbed if not ended. After the presidency of George W.

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Unless you live under a rock, you know Donald Trump is thinking about running for president. His sensational public endeavors—pushing the White House to release President Obama’s long-form birth certificate and, most recently, questioning the authenticity of the president’s academic record—have met with astonishment, outrage, and dismay.

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Madison and Jefferson By Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg (Random House, 809 pp., $35)   Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were more than good friends. These two Virginians and Founding Fathers participated in what was probably the greatest political collaboration in American history. Indeed, the history of the early republic is incomprehensible without an understanding of this political partnership.

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Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787 - 1788 By Pauline Maier (Simon & Schuster, 589 pp., $30) At the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, one of the greatest editorial projects in American history has been under way for nearly thirty-five years. Since 1976, the successive editors of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution have published twenty-three volumes, and there are at least eight more to come.

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[Guest post by Jonathan Bernstein:] Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist.

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First the good news: Via The Hill, Democratic leaders are thinking seriously about reforming the filibuster: Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate are pushing for filibuster reform at the start of the new Congress next year. And now the bad news:  Five Senate Democrats have said they will not support a lowering of the 60-vote bar necessary to pass legislation. Another four lawmakers say they are wary about such a change and would be hesitant to support it.

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