Starting Points

At Starting Points, we take the long view of American politics. Non-partisan and interdisciplinary, we aim to understand American politics by looking before and beyond our current political situation—before to the historical, cultural and intellectual roots of American politics, and beyond to the overarching ideas and guiding ideals of our unique political tradition.


Jefferson and Religious Toleration
January 30, 2017 Ari Helo

Defining the specifically American tradition of religious freedom inevitably brings us back to Thomas Jefferson. In the final analysis, religious freedom meant nothing less than freedom of conscience to Jefferson.

Solidarity and Subsidiarity
January 26, 2017 Peter Augustine Lawler

Each American knows he or she is a citizen, but also more than a citizen. Solidarity with all human beings—through a universal conception of rights and of citizenship in the City of God—means that our world isn’t irredeemably divided into bands of friends out to rob their enemies blind.

What is the future of the American political thought subfield?
January 26, 2017 Jeremy Bailey and Justin Dyer

A Starting Points Conversation featuring Jeremy Bailey and Justin Dyer

The Unexceptional Nation: Donald Trump and Making America Great Again
January 23, 2017 Hilde Eliassen Restad

Since World War II, U.S. foreign policy has been operating under the assumption that the world needs U.S. leadership not just because of American military might, or because of the dollar, but also because of American ideals. This foreign policy tradition and its justification in American exceptionalism is opposed by the new American president.

U.S. Constitutional Democracy in the World
January 23, 2017 Jay Sexton

What does the U.S. founding of 1787 look like from an international perspective? When and why did U.S. constitutional democracy matter to the wider world? These questions speak to our current global age. More than that, they offer a starting point for the coming generation of scholarship that has already begun to change our understanding ...

Did the 2016 election provide a blueprint for the future success of the Republican Party?
January 23, 2017 Carson Holloway and George Hawley

A Starting Points Conversation featuring Carson Holloway and George Hawley

Do not delete
January 16, 2016 liftdivision

Placeholder so that all of the curated posts show on the homepage slider.