James Madison and the Future of Limited Government

Conference
March 1, 2001 9:00AM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring Judge Alex Kozinski, James Buchanan, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Roger Pilon.

2001 marks the 250th anniversary of James Madison’s birth. It is an apt time to assess this Founding Father’s historical contributions and the future of his ideas. Madison’s greatest legacy is the United States Constitution and its ideas supporting limited government: minority rights, the dangers of faction, separation of church and state, enumerated powers, and a realistic, though not pessimistic, view of human nature. Conference participants are invited to join leading scholars and public policy experts in engaging James Madison as both a man of history and a living contemporary whose ideas continue to inform our political debates.

Conference participants are invited to join leading scholars and public policy experts in engaging James Madison as both a man of history and a living contemporary whose ideas continue to inform our political debates.

Berns Bueno de Mesquita Malcolm Tomasi
Berns
Bueno de Mesquita
Malcolm
Tomasi
       
Palmer Pilon Kozinski Buchanan
Palmer
Pilon
Kozinski
Buchanan



PANEL ONE addresses both Madison’s constitutional design for the United States and his theory of political economy enunciated most famously in Federalist #10. Madison believed representative government, not direct democracy, provided a firm foundation for a lasting republic. In this past election year we have seen the return of the initiative and much skepticism about the wisdom and good faith of representatives. Has Jeffersonian direct democracy won the day against Madison’s prudent faith in republican institutions? This panel will also explore the historical dimension of Madison’s constitutionalism.

considers Madison’s ideas in an international context. As more and more nations wish to be free, democratic, and prosperous, do Madison’s ideas about limited government offer any guidance for reaching those goals? Which political institutions promote economic growth? Are economic freedom and political democracy compatible? Would developing nations be well advised to follow Madison’s ideas about government and constitutionalism?

PANEL THREE examines Madison’s faith that a diversity of interests would protect the new American republic from tyranny. Does multiculturalism hold the same promise for contemporary government? Should Madison’s thinking influence emerging global governance?

highlights one major ideological distinction between conservatives and libertarians: the public status of religion. Like Madison, libertarians see mixing government and religion as a potential threat to individual freedom and private conscience. Like Madison, conservatives are concerned about civic virtue, and many of them look to a public role for religion as the way to virtue. Beyond clarifying differences between libertarians and conservatives, this panel seeks to find common ground.

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