James Madison and the Framers of the Constitution designed not a direct democracy but a representative republic that would filter public passions to promote thoughtful deliberation and the public good. Today, the rise of new populist movements, fueled by new media technologies and structural changes in the Constitution, have unleashed the popular passions that the framers feared. In this seminar, Jeffrey Rosen asks what Madison and the framers would think of our current Congress, presidency, courts, and media, asking how we can resurrect Madisonian values of thoughtful deliberation and reasoned public discourse today.
Jeffrey Rosen serves as President & CEO of the National Constitution Center, Professor at The George Washington University Law School, Contributing Editor of The Atlantic and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a highly regarded journalist whose essays and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, on National Public Radio, and in The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer. The Chicago Tribune named him one of the 10 best magazine journalists in America and a reviewer for the Los Angeles Times called him “the nation’s most widely read and influential legal commentator.” He is the best-selling author of Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet, The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America, The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America, and The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America, which The New York Times called “the definitive text on privacy perils in the digital age.”