Skip to main content

The Constitution and American Civic Virtues

Thursday, September 19
11:00 AM
Education in Zion Auditorium (JFSB B192)

Join us for a lecture with Dr. Paul Carrese as he explores the Constitution and American Civic Virtues.

The U.S. Constitution presupposes several civic virtues, although it does not specify them, nor does it charge the federal government with civic education of citizens in order to properly operate, and flourish in, our complex constitutional order. The separation of powers within the federal government, and the distribution of powers between state and federal governments, along with the First Amendment protections of speech and other modes of civic discourse, all presuppose a citizenry that will constantly disagree and argue yet maintain a civil order – indeed, succeed in securing "the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Three civic virtues are most indispensable, yet our universities and schools mostly no longer teach them; and this deficit is one major cause of America's current civic decay and dysfunction. These are civil disagreement; civic friendship across divergent political and philosophical views; and a reflective patriotism – arguably the root civic virtue, combining love and gratitude for our country with a disposition to argue about and question our distinctive American political order, given that it rests on ideas, ideals, and principles about justice.

Speaker Bio

Paul Carrese is professor in the School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, serving as founding director 2016 to 2023. For two decades he was a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and co-founded its honors program blending liberal arts and leadership education. He teaches and publishes on the American founding, American constitutional and political thought, civic education, and American grand strategy. His most recent book is Democracy in Moderation: Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and Sustainable Liberalism (Cambridge, 2016*)*. He has held fellowships at Oxford (Rhodes Scholar); Harvard; University of Delhi (Fulbright fellow); and the James Madison Program, Princeton. He served on the advisory board of the Program on Public Discourse at UNC Chapel Hill where he co-led a national study, Educating for American Democracy, on American history and civics education in K-12 schools with partners from Harvard and Tufts universities and iCivics (2021); is a fellow of the Civitas Institute, UT Austin; and serves on the Academic Council of the Jack Miller Center for America’s Founding Principles and History and on the Civic Education Committee of the American Political Science Association. In 2024 he is Senior Fellow in Civic Thought and Leadership with the Jack Miller Center.