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James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions

James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
James Madison Program small logo.png
Bobst Hall (Key and Seal Club)
Bobst Hall, Home of the James Madison Program
AbbreviationJames Madison Program
Named afterJames Madison
TypeAcademic Program
HeadquartersBobst Hall, Princeton University
Robert P. George
Executive Director
Bradford P. Wilson

The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, often called simply the Madison Program, is a scholarly institute within the Department of Politics at Princeton University that is "dedicated to exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political thought."[1] The Madison Program was founded in 2000 and is directed by Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University.[2]


The Madison Program was founded in the summer of 2000 via a charter with the Department of Politics at Princeton University.[3] Early funders included Steve Forbes, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation. [4] Early speakers included liberal scholars such as James E. Fleming of Fordham University, Stanley N. Katz of Princeton University and more traditional ones, including Robert Bork, Christopher DeMuth, then-president of the American Enterprise Institute, Lynne Cheney, chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in the first Bush administration, and William Kristol, then-editor of The Weekly Standard. [4]

The Program celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010 with a lecture from columnist George Will. [5] Summer 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Program.

Academic Programs

Politics Departmental Track

The Program sponsors the track in "American Ideas and Institutions" for undergraduates concentrating in Politics at Princeton. The track includes courses from American politics, political theory, and public law to allow students to "further and demonstrate their understandings of the three branches of the federal government and the values, ideas, and theories that underlie them and are animated by their workings."[6]

Undergraduate Fellows Forum

The Program is host to the Undergraduate Fellows Forum, where Princeton undergraduates engage with fellow students interested in American constitutionalism and American political institutions.[7] Undergraduate Fellows have founded such programs at Princeton as a podcast called "Woke Wednesdays"[8] and the third undergraduate chapter of the Federalist Society.[9]

James Madison Society

The Madison Program is host to several Visiting and Postdoctoral Fellows at Princeton every year and past Visiting Fellows become part of the James Madison Society. The members of the Society are interested in intellectual dialogue across partisan lines and span the ideological spectrum.

Notable Members of the James Madison Society
Name Institution Reference
John Agresto St. John's College [10]
William B. Allen Michigan State University [10]
Hadley P. Arkes Amherst College [10]
Stephen Balch Texas Tech University [10]
Mark Bauerlein Emory University [10]
Francis J. Beckwith Baylor University [10]
Paul O. Carrese Arizona State University [10]
Angelo Codevilla Boston University [10]
David G. Dalin Brandeis University [10]
Patrick Deneen University of Notre Dame [10]
John J. DiIulio Jr. University of Pennsylvania [10]
Donald L. Drakeman University of Notre Dame [10]
Daniel Dreisbach American University [10]
Jean Bethke Elshtain (d. 2013) University of Chicago [10]
John Finnis University of Notre Dame; University of Oxford [10]
Michael Gerhardt University of North Carolina [10]
Mary Ann Glendon Harvard University [10]
Jack Goldsmith Harvard University [10]
Christopher R. Green University of Mississippi [10]
Allen C. Guelzo Gettysburg College [10]
Philip Hamburger Columbia University [10]
Anne Hendershott Franciscan University of Steubenville [10]
Matthew S. Holland Utah Valley University [10]
Leon Kass University of Chicago; American Enterprise Institute [10]
Charles R. Kesler Claremont McKenna College [10]
Harvey Klehr Emory University [10]
Robert C. Koons University of Texas at Austin [10]
Alan Charles Kors University of Pennsylvania [10]
Michael I. Krauss George Mason University [10]
Peter Lawler (d. 2017) Berry College [10]
Yuval Levin Ethics and Public Policy Center; National Affairs [10]
Joyce Lee Malcolm George Mason University [10]
Harvey Mansfield Harvard University [10]
Wilfred M. McClay University of Oklahoma [10]
Lawrence Mead New York University [10]
Kenneth P. Miller Claremont McKenna College [10]
Vincent Phillip Muñoz University of Notre Dame [10]
Michael New Catholic University of America [10]
David Novak University of Toronto [10]
Marvin Olasky Patrick Henry College [10]
Daniel N. Robinson (d. 2018) Georgetown University; University of Oxford [10]
Charles T. Rubin Duquesne University [10]
Diana Schaub Loyola University Maryland [10]
Gabriel Schoenfeld Hudson Institute [10]
Roger Scruton Oxford University; Ethics and Public Policy Center [10]
James Reist Stoner Jr. Louisiana State University [10]
Carol M. Swain Vanderbilt University (retired) [10]
Carl Trueman Grove City College [10]
Michael Uhlmann Claremont Graduate University [10]
Bradley C.S. Watson Saint Vincent College [10]
Cornel West Harvard University; Princeton University [10]
Thomas G. West Hillsdale College [10]
W. Bradford Wilcox University of Virginia [10]
James Q. Wilson (d. 2012) Harvard University; Princeton University [10]
Michael Zuckert University of Notre Dame [10]

Public Initiatives


"Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression"

On March 14, 2017, Robert P. George and Cornel West issued a joint statement via the Madison Program to encourage citizens to engage with people opposing views. The statement was opened to signatories from the public; as of March 2019, there were more than 4,000 signatories.[11]

"Think for yourself"

On August 29, 2017, the Madison Program issued a joint statement entitled "Some Thoughts and Advice for Our Students and All Students" in which Princeton, Harvard, and Yale University professors encouraged students entering college to avoid becoming "trapped in an echo chamber" by "taking the trouble to learn and honestly consider the strongest arguments to be advanced on both or all sides of questions—including arguments for positions that others revile and want to stigmatize and against positions others seek to immunize from critical scrutiny."[12]


According to Jane Mayer, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Madison Program was founded with funds from the conservative John M. Olin Foundation. [13] Director Robert P. George claims the Program is not conservative, but rather "seeks to bring competing points of view together to lift the intellectual debate on campus."[14]

The Program has been used as a template for similar institutions at Georgetown, New York University, and Williams College.[15] It has been praised for its ability to enable cooperation between Catholic and Evangelical Christians.[16]


  1. ^ "Home - James Madison Program".
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. "Robert P. George, the Conservative-Christian Big Thinker".
  3. ^ Nieli, Russ (2005). "Enhancing Intellectual Diversity on Campus--The James Madison Program at Princeton". Academic Questions. 18 (20): 27. doi:10.1007/s12129-005-1003-3.
  4. ^ a b Merritt, J.I. (8 October 2003). "Heretic in the Temple". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  5. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly (8 December 2010). "Madison Program marks 10th anniversary". Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Program in American Ideas and Institutions". Princeton University Department of Politics. Princeton University. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Undergraduate Fellows Forum | James Madison Program". Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  8. ^ Sterenfeld, Ethan (2017-12-03). "Nothing Recycled". Nassau Weekly. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  9. ^ "Students, faculty create Federalist Society chapter at the University". The Princetonian. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc "James Madison Society | James Madison Program". Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  11. ^ "Sign the Statement: Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression - A Statement by Robert P. George and Cornel West". James Madison Program. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Some Thoughts and Advice for Our Students and All Students". James Madison Program. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  13. ^ Mayer, Jane (2016-02-12). "How Right-Wing Billionaires Infiltrated Higher Education". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  14. ^ "Conservative Princeton professor promotes civil discourse at UNC". newsobserver. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  15. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (2009-12-16). "Robert P. George, the Conservative-Christian Big Thinker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  16. ^ Faith in the halls of power: how evangelicals joined the American elite, D. Michael Lindsay, Oxford University Press US, 2007, p. 86

External links