Constitution Day Lecture

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM (ET)
Palamountain Hall Gannett Auditorium
Event Type
Political Science

A Constitution for the Living: Author Meets Critics

In his recent book, A Constitution for the Living, Professor Beau Breslin takes up the theme of generational constitutional reform. What if each generation could write its own Constitution?  What would those Constitutions have looked like throughout American history and, more importantly, what would the current generation’s Constitution include? The book takes famous debate between Jefferson—who favored generational constitutional change and Madison—who preferred a single enduring Constitution—and imagines a world in which the loser (Jefferson) prevailed. The book relays fictional accounts of Constitutional Conventions in 1825, 1863, 1903, 1953, and 2022. It tells of historical figures like Daniel Webster and Booker T. Washington, as well as contemporary leaders like the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune, and what they might have pushed for in their respective drafting conventions. The result is a creative approach to questions of political power, equal justice, and constitutional reform. 

Professor Breslin will present some of his arguments and ideas from the book. Then two distinguished scholars of Constitutional Law, Keith Whittington of Princeton University and Henry Chambers of the University of Richmond, will offer their thoughts and questions.

book cover in red
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