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.


Do We Need A Compass?
October 16, 2017 Andrea Radasanu

A Starting Points Conversation featuring the founding editor of Compass, Andrea Radasanu

In God We Trust: Reconciling Religiosity in a Secular Nation
October 12, 2017 Tess Saperstein

The recent evolution of the Religious Right underscores the value that most Americans place on the separation of church and state. Religion is able to influence American politics only insofar as it reflects the expression of individual political opinions as motivated by religious belief.

Montesquieu and Despotism: Author Interview with Vickie Sullivan
October 9, 2017 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Vickie Sullivan about her new book, Montesquieu and the Despotic Ideas of Europe

Exit Left: Author Interview with Robert S. Taylor
October 2, 2017 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Robert S. Taylor about his new book, Exit Left

Free Time: Author Interview with Julie Rose
September 25, 2017 The Political Theory Review

A Political Theory Review interview with Julie Rose about her new book, Free Time

What Did the Constitutional Convention Do with Slavery?
September 17, 2017 Mary Sarah Bilder

A Starting Points Constitution Day Conversation featuring Mary Sarah Bilder, author of Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention.

Living the Natural Law in an Age of Natural Rights
September 11, 2017 Douglas Kries

The natural law has much to contribute to our rights-focused political discourse. Three strategies can help those committed to the natural law to bring this contribution to bear in our time.

Do We Need a Natural Law Theory of the State?
September 4, 2017 Lee Ward

Is natural law equipped to ground a normative theory of the liberal democratic state in this era of the great struggle between globalization and its opponents?

Natural Justice and the Amistad
August 28, 2017 Justin Dyer

John Quincy Adams’ oral argument in the Amistad case is notable for its explicit appeal to the authority of the Declaration of Independence and to the practical political relevance of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

Executive Exoneration to Congressional Clemency
August 21, 2017 Edward Green

The presidential pardoning power is valuable, but it must be circumscribed to a much greater extent than it currently is if it is to continue to have a positive effect on the governmental system of the United States.