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2009 National Institute

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As someone who has attended two of the Center of the Constitution’s weekend programs, I was overly excited when I was accepted to the 2009’s National Institute.  Of course I couldn’t wait to pick Will’s brain for more and more insight, but quickly I have learned this Institute is much more than that. This institute is a way not to just learn about polity and community, but to also build our very own community and polity. As I climbed  the mountain behind Occidental,with a few of my friends, to watch the beautiful California sunset, I finally figured why we were here at Occidental. We…

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A Paradigm: Six Words for the National Academy

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You might remember a New York Times contest to craft a six word motto for the United States. We turned the powerhouse of Academy thinking at the question. Laura suggested a phrase you might recognize… “MUTUAL GUARDIANS OF OUR MUTUAL HAPPINESS” I think that phrase resonated as a result of her work at Monpelier’s NEH Landmark institute. Keith reviewed his notes from the Academy and provided a whole list of possibilities! This year’s National Academy wrestled a rigorous three weeks but still found time to toy with the idea of what six words would be the best represent their three…

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Constitutional Thinking Requires Constitutional Teaching

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At the National Academy today, Kevin Fox presented his thoughts on his own constitutional thinking and teaching. In the Academy tradition, his inquiry started with, “What is it?”. His answers included… Reasoned Reflective Creative constructive imaginative Present on-going Whole ordered (not orderly) Scientific systematic experimental Balanced (between extremes) Inclusive (of the parts and the whole) Serious (treat ideas seriously) Complex (surplus of mind) Teaching beyond the test Purpose driven Problem generating & solving With a quick wit, he concluded this line of thought with a simple paraphrase of James Bradley Thayer’s doctrine of constitutional interpretation, “Let them hurt. Make them…

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What Are the Most Federalist Songs?

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Something Will said this Summer boomeranged and smacked me into thinking about Federalist songs. What would make a song distinctively Federalist?  I began to brainstorm characteristics which I thought Federalist in nature: SCIENCE, FUTURE, HOPE, FREE, WORLDLY, REGENERATING, OPEN-MINDED, and so forth.  Many songs are upbeat, and do convey multiple aspects of Federalist thinking.  In fact, I think that when some people think about the spirit of ROCK, they do so with a very Federalist ideal: think Jack Black in School of Rock or Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. I’m going to withhold my favorites in hopes that we get some…

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