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.

LATEST ARTICLES

Natural Rights in America Today, with a Defense of the Founders on Natural Law: Reply to Seagrave
June 4, 2018 Thomas G. West

Adam Seagrave’s review of my Political Theory of the American Founding contains both praise and criticism. I will respond here to four of his most important concerns.

Symposium on Alexander Hamilton’s Legacy
May 17, 2018 Quinn Carolan, Jack Sauter, and Wilfredo Najarro

Hamilton is often sidelined in favor of other founders such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Tocqueville Forum students featured here reconsider Hamilton’s legacy, aided by careful reading of Hamilton’s own writings.

A Practical Solution to the Death of the American Dream
May 10, 2018 Pamela Larkin

Has slowing class mobility caused the shift in American culture away from the traditional “American Dream”? Or has this shift in American culture caused slowing class mobility?

Boundaries of the International: Law and Empire
May 7, 2018 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Jennifer Pitts about her recent book, Boundaries of the International: Law and Empire

The Election of 1940
April 30, 2018 John W. Jeffries

While the war in Europe played a significant role in the parties’ nominations for the presidential election of 1940, it had a relatively small part, and less than is usually understood, in voting.

Equal Recognition: the Moral Foundations of Minority Rights
April 23, 2018 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Alan Patten about his recent book, Equal Recognition: the Moral Foundations of Minority Rights

Should Pornography that Patently Objectifies Women be Banned?
April 12, 2018 Jared Kelly

The debate around banning pornography that objectifies women fractured the feminist movement. Future attempts to outlaw pornography will follow the precedent set forth in Osbourne v. Ohio and attempt to ban pornography in order to protect public health and safety.

Defending Rorty: Author Interview with William Curtis
April 9, 2018 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with William Curtis about his new book, Defending Rorty: Pragmatism and Liberal Virtue

Congress in the Light of History
March 26, 2018 David R. Mayhew

What should we expect of a separation-of-powers regime interlaced with tough checks and balances? What should we expect of a legislature representing a heterogeneous public that seems to be growing more heterogeneous, not to mention more fractious, all the time? To think about these matters, it may pay to reach for historical perspective. ...

Bionic Wings
March 21, 2018 Jacob Bruggeman

“NOW!” screams Transhumanism—obsessed like Gatsby—refusing to take heed of others’ objections and so many warnings in the canon of science fiction and the timelessness of Murphy’s Law.