David Gray Adler was a professor of political science at Idaho State University for 25 years. A prize winning teacher and author, Adler has written more than 100 scholarly articles on the Constitution and the Presidency and has published four books. A former journalist, Adler earned a B.A. from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Dr. Adler has lectured internationally on the Constitution and is a former President of the Pacific Northwest Political Science Association. In 2010 he received the IHC's Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award, given annually. Dr. Adler is currently the Director of the Sun Valley Institute.
When Lincoln dies, one of his cabinet members remarked, "Now he belongs to the Ages." And so he does. Lincoln's stature as one of America's greatest presidents--the president who freed the slaves, won the Civil War and preserved the Union--has inspired Americans of every stripe and color to draw lessons from his presidency. Some contend that his years in office represent a model of virtually unlimited executive authority in times of crisis. Others have argued that his presidency represents a model of executive leadership that counsels moderation, restraint and the rule of law. This talk explores Lincoln's views about presidential power and the relevance of his presidency for the challenges that confront America as it attempts to balance security concerns with constitutional government in an Age of Terrorism.
This presentation will offer an historical overview of some underlying issues that have absorbed the energies of concerned citizens, focusing on constitutional issues and theories of representation conducive to governance. It includes civic participation in a non-partisan discussion that explores the U.S. Constitution, the responsibilities of the media, and the role of the American citizenry.
Lincoln's bold reactions to the constitutional crisis created by the Civil War defined his presidency. Critics denounced him as a constitutional dictator; others hailed him as a constitutional patriot. Generations of Americans, citizens and scholars alike, have debated the legality of Lincoln's actions. This lecture examines Lincoln's understanding of the Constitution, presidential power, civil liberties, the Supreme Court and constitutional interpretation. Lincoln's absorbing interest in, and passionate commitment to, the Constitution, produced some of the most original and penetrating analyses of constitutional government ever penned by an American statesman. He revered the Constitution and believed it should constitute the "political religion of the nation." His principles were put to a severe test as he sought to win the Civil War and preserve the Union, as he put it, in the "shortest way under the Constitution."
This is a discussion of the central moments, events and controversies of various presidencies, including those of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, among others.
An exploration of the often-conflicting expectations that Americans have of their presidents. For example, we often demand strong, popular leadership, yet we have a deep suspicion of centralization and abuse of power. We want a president who reflects and follows the will of the people, but we also want one who boldly leads and shapes public opinion. This program explores the question of what constitutes greatness and distinguishes great presidents like Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, from less highly regarded executives like Coolidge, Hoover and Carter.
Description coming soon.
Few provisions of the Constitution have generated as much discussion and debate as the religion clauses of the First Amendment. The principle of religious liberty, protected by "Freedom of Religion" and the "Establishment Clause," has injected heat and passion into American politics, from Main Street to Wall Street, and inspired libraries of articles, books and essays, sermons from the pulpit, lectures in ivory towers and rants and drunken orations in taverns across America. More often than not, these debates shed more heat than light.
Adler's lecture will review the historical origins of the religion clauses, including the hopes and fears that inspired them, landmark Supreme Court cases that shaped the understanding of the scope of religious liberty, and controversial religion cases currently before the Court. What promises to be a lively, energetic Q & A session following the lecture will afford audience members the opportunity to probe this central area of constitutional freedom.
The exercise of presidential power in modern times, particularly in the area of foreign policy, has triggered a heated debate within the corridors of power and throughout the nation on the constitutional powers of the Presidency. Adler will examine the controversies surrounding the development and exercise of the constitutional powers and responsibilities of the commander in chief, the power to make war, and the authority to conduct foreign policy.
The manner in which the Supreme Court has interpreted our constitutional rights has profoundly affected the lives of Americans, dramatically influenced the nature and development of our nation, and triggered an intense controversy regarding both the legitimacy of the Court’s rulings and the scope of our civil rights. Adler will focus on the controversial and historical issues of the role and responsibility of the Supreme Court as the ultimate guarantor of constitutional freedom. The Court’s interpretations of First Amendment freedoms, such as speech and religion, will be featured subjects of discussion.
The origins, scope and meaning of the Bill of Rights, and its proper place in a democratic form of government, have been the subjects of great controversy since its creation two hundred years ago. This presentation will explore the struggle to establish a Bill of Rights, changing interpretations of our civil rights, and the role and importance of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms in a democracy.