What interests me most is how ideas or theories about politics are applied and affect the “real world.” This is the strand which links research that otherwise might look somewhat random. My Ph.D. dissertation, which became published by Stanford as Ratifying the Republic, examined whether and how the combatants in the debate over the ratification of the US Constitution held to the philosophies they had developed in their later years as they made policy in the new government. My most recent book, Presidents and Political Thought, shows how six presidents used ideas they learned from political theorists in their job as the nation’s chief executive. What this research demonstrates to me is that political theory is not some impractical, other-worldly exercise. Rather it is something which has had great practical effect, even as those who apply theories find that they often need adjustment in being applied in practice.
I love having several different ongoing projects. I like the variety. The biggest project for me these days is a work examining the idea of “coequality” among the branches of the US government. Everyone seems to learn in grade school that Congress, the federal courts, and the president are all coequal. That’s not true. None of the founders believed they had created such a government, the Constitution itself does not indicate that the branches are coequal, and they are not in actual practice either. So I’m in the process of writing articles and eventually a book about that. I’m now also starting a project looking into what presidents have thought about other presidents. I regularly write book reviews, encyclopedia articles, and book chapters too about a variety of things—presidents and early American political history mostly.
- Roosevelts in Superior
- Presidents and Political Thought, December 2009
- Encyclopedia entry “The American Revolution” in The Encyclopedia of Political Theory
||To listen to the Commencement Speech
that Dr. David Siemers gave in the spring
of 2009 go to the following link: http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/cache_st/