James Madison

Disoriented
October 23, 1995

Two years ago in a Denver courtroom, when we last encountered the anti-gay rights case Evans v. Romer, Professors Martha Nussbaum of Brown and Robert George of Princeton were wrangling about the proper translation of tolmema, Plato's adjective for homosexuality. Nussbaum said "deed of daring"; George preferred "abomination." (See "Sodom and Demurrer," TNR, November 29, 1993.) In its journey up to the Supreme Court, however, the case has been transformed from one about the definition of homosexuality to one about constitutional limitations on plebiscitary democracy.

Founding Brothers
January 30, 1995

The Republic of Letters: The Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison 1776-1826 edited by James Morton Smith (W.W. Norton, 3 volumes, 2,073 pp., $150) Perhaps all heroes are conveyed to posterity as singular and solitary beings. In the case of Thomas Jefferson, however, the splendor of his isolation seems an essential aspect of his reputation. Jefferson's ultimate act of solitary creation was, of course, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence in June 1776. Sitting in a Windsor chair with his lap-desk and a quill pen, he wrote the magic words of American history.

The Limits of Limits
February 07, 1994

Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech by Cass R. Sunstein (The Free Press, 300 pp., $22.95) For nearly a decade Cass Sunstein has presented himself as the benign face of free speech revisionism. In his academic writings, he has supported some restrictions on pornography and hate speech, and at the same time has avoided the rhetorical excesses of Catharine A. MacKinnon and the critical race theorists. He has endorsed some restrictions on the autonomy of broadcasters and newspaper owners, while questioning what he calls the more heavy-handed " command and control" solutions of the 1960s.

The Leader of the Opposition
January 18, 1993

Jeffrey Rosen on the tortuous jurisprudence of Antonin Scalia.

Next Stop, Angola
December 02, 1985

The next battlefield over the so-called Regan Doctrine is the decade-old consensus that America should stay out of the civil war in Angola. Based on the belief that the United States should assist anti-Communist freedom fighters everywhere, elements within the Reagan administration and in Congress are urging that the U.S. supply as much as $200 million in aid to Jonas Savimbi's anti-Marxist guerrilla group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

The Campaign Reform Failure
September 05, 1983

THE UNITED STATES invented modern democracy and has practiced it longer and more successfully than any other nation. For all its flaws, it works remarkably well. While mediating among the jumbled interests of a geographically, ethnically, racially, religiously, and economically diverse nation, it has preserved both freedom and stability. When asked about their political leaders, Americans {according to public opinion polls) often hold their noses.

Liberalism: Illusions and Realities
June 24, 1970

Does Kirk's "Conservative Mind" make any sense?

Limit the War Power
July 27, 1938

The Framers of the United States Constitution sought to limit the tendency of chief executives to enhance their power and lead their peoples into war, by providing that Congress alone should have the right to declare war and that the President's treaty-making power should be shared with the Senate. James Madison remarked in a letter to William Cabell Rives: In no part of the Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department.

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