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Texas State University

UVA professor to lecture on James Madison for annual Constitution Day event Sept. 17

Campus Community

Julie Cooper | September 10, 2019

james ceaser headshot
Dr. James W. Ceaser

James W. Ceaser, Ph.D., will deliver a lecture on Sept. 17 at Texas State University as part of the annual Constitution Day observance.  

The lecture, titled “James Madison: The Founder of the Modern Founding” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Alkek Teaching Theater, Room 250. The public is invited to attend. 

Ceaser is a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1976. He has written several books on American politics and political thought, including “Presidential Selection,” “Liberal Democracy and Political Science,” “Reconstructing America” and “Nature and History in American Political Development.” Ceaser is a frequent contributor to the popular press, and he often comments on American politics for the Voice of America.

“I strongly encourage all first-year students to go,” said Jennifer Lamm, Ph.D. and lecturer in the Department of Political Science. She adds that this year’s celebration will mark the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

Since 2015, Texas State’s Discourse in Democracy series has made a lecture the centerpiece of Constitution Day events. “Study after study has documented a disturbing trend — a sharp decline in recent decades in civic literacy, in particular, knowledge of our constitutional system,” observed Kenneth Grasso, chair of the Department of Political Science. We hope this lecture contributes in some small way to reversing this trend.” 

Ceaser will also lead a seminar at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 in UAC 382 for students and faculty. On Sept. 18 he will speak to students at New Braunfels High School. 

Last year’s speaker was Keith E. Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. Other speakers have included Greg Weiner, Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts; William Forbath, the University Texas at Austin School of Law; and James R. Stoner, Jr., Louisiana State University.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed each year on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.” 

In 2004, Congress, under Sen. Robert Byrd’s urging, changed the designation to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This act mandates that on Sept. 17, all publicly funded educational institutions and all federal agencies provide educational programming on the history of the U.S. Constitution.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922