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.


Lessons from the Madness of Diogenes and John Brown
January 15, 2018 Mark Benton

Our politics has problems. There must be a way to bring the steadfastness of a Diogenes or a John Brown into public discourse uncompromised, but in a way that is also palatable to those who turn away from the words of someone so unusual.

Teachers of the People: Author Interview with Dana Villa
January 8, 2018 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Dana Villa about his new book, Teachers of the People: Political Education in Rousseau, Hegel, Tocqueville, and Mill

Does History Make Sense? Author Interview with Terry Pinkard
December 18, 2017 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Terry Pinkard about his new book, Does History Make Sense?: Hegel on the Historical Shapes of Justice

Neoliberal Evolution of the Space Exploration Industry in Relation to the Tech Industry
December 14, 2017 William A. Preecs

Ingenuity is a part of the American character. As Americans, we must reflect on the mistakes of our past in the evolution of Tech to best approach the coming evolution of the space exploration industry.

Gerrymandering and Gill in Constitutional Perspective
December 11, 2017 Jay Dow

Gerrymandering is as old as the republic itself. The siren call of court intervention is attractive but will eventually make the court just another political actor. A better solution to gerrymandering is smaller legislatures.

Are Intellectual Property Rights Moral?
December 4, 2017 Gunnar Gundersen

The case is hard for those challenging intellectual property. There is no coherent basis for a right to enjoy the creations of others without the compensation of or consent of their creator.

What’s New
November 20, 2017 Starting Points

What’s New will be a gateway for readers to learn and benefit from the accumulated wisdom of the excellent scholars working to further our collective understanding of the American political tradition.

Anti-Hispanic Sentiment and U.S.-Mexican Relations
November 16, 2017 Jessica DellAquila

The essay examines the racism present in the foundational period of foreign relations between the United States and Mexico that occurred between the 1840s and 1850s, seeking to show parallels between the racist rhetoric and policy of the foundational period of U.S.-Mexico relations and today.

Historical Records and Historical Narratives about the Constitutional Convention
November 13, 2017 Lynn Uzzell

It is both prudent and just to question the reliability of the records we use when forming our historical narratives. But it is no less prudent to question the wisdom of forming constitutional narratives that seek to replace the historical records with the historian’s speculations.

Is the Administrative State Legitimate?
October 30, 2017 Joseph Postell and Jennifer Selin

A Starting Points Conversation featuring Joseph Postell and Jennifer Selin