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Home Educator Seminar: The Presidency in the Early Republic and Today

Educator Seminar: The Presidency in the Early Republic and Today

The Presidency in the Early Republic and Today

A Montpelier Seminar for Educators

The President of the United States is the most powerful position in the world, but was it meant to be? This seminar will explore the origins of the presidency, how the Constitutional Convention conceptualized the presidency, how it evolved in the Early Republic, and the precedents the early presidents left for their successors. Article II of the Constitution was an outline of the executive branch, at best. But like all best-laid plans, the ideas about the presidency contained in the Constitution quickly clashed with the demands of governing in the real world. The early presidents, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, grappled with domestic insurrections, threats of foreign war, endless constitutional questions, cabinet insubordination, partisan tensions, political violence, distrust of a standing army, and territorial expansion. They built the presidency upon the scaffolding crafted by the delegates at the Constitutional Convention. The legacy they left behind is mostly unwritten. Our focus, therefore, will be on the norms, customs, and precedents that determine the powers and limitations of the executive branch. We will consider a series of primary documents and colorful characters to better understand the beginnings of this influential institution and the historic origins of the contemporary moment.
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Seminar Scholar

Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky

Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Chervinsky is the author of the award-winning book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institutionco-editor of Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Cultureand the forthcoming book, Making the Presidency: John Adams and the Precedents That Forged the RepublicShe regularly writes for public audiences in the Wall Street Journal, Ms. Magazine, The Daily Beast, The Bulwark, Time Magazine, USA Today, CNN, and the Washington Post, and regularly offers insight on tv, radio, and podcasts.


Oct 24 - 26, 2024


1:30 pm - 12:00 pm




Claude Moore Hall
Claude Moore Hall
13372 Laundry Road, Montpelier Station, VA 22957