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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

John Marshall Lectures in Political Philosophy

the clough center for the study of constitutional democracy

The Clough Center’s John Marshall Lectures in Political Philosophy are sponsored by the Collins Family Foundation, of Delaplane, Va., which operates under the stewardship of Dr. David C. Collins, founder of Learning Tree International, and Mary Collins. The lecture series is named in honor of the great Chief Justice (1801-1835) of the U.S. Supreme Court, and American Founder, John Marshall (1755-1835). Dr. and Mrs. Collins have a longstanding interest in Marshall’s life and work. For over twenty years, they have funded the preservation and restoration of Marshall's childhood home in Markham, Virginia, which has served as an educational resource visited, to date, by some 42,000 young people. 

The John Marshall Lecture Series is administered by Political Science Professor Robert Faulkner, who is author of (amongst many other works) The Jurisprudence of John Marshall (Princeton, 1968; Greenwood Press,1980) and of a new edition of John Marshall’s Life of George Washington (Liberty Fund, 2000).

John Marshall

Preservation & Stabilization of The Hollow
This report chronicles the work Dr. Collins had done to restore the John Marshall boyhood home.

Lecture Series Events


spring 2016 program


A luncheon discussion with Sanford Kessler

Monday, March 14, 2016
12:00 p.m. 
10 Stone Ave, Room 201
Boston College 

RSVP required by March 10 to



fall 2015 program


The Problem of Modern Liberty »
A luncheon discussion with John Agresto

Friday, October 16, 2015
12:00 p.m. 
10 Stone Ave, Room 201
Boston College 

RSVP required by October 12 to

John Agresto is the former President of St. John's College Santa Fe, Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Senior Advisor on Education to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq, and Acting Chancellor and Provost of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.

He is author of The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy; Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions; and, most recently, Rediscovering America-- Liberty, Equality, and the Crisis of Democracy.


fall 2014 Program


Science is Power: Politics and Knowledge in the Thought of Francis Bacon

Friday, September 12, 2014
8:00 a.m.
McGuinn 521, Boston College
Registration required by 9/10

Learn more or register for Science is Power »


spring 2015 Programs


Scientistic Utopianism and the Eclipse of Man
A luncheon-discussion with Charles T. Rubin

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
12:00 p.m. 
McGuinn Hall, Room 521
Boston College 

RSVP required by April 10 to

Scientistic Utopianism flyer »

Charles T. Rubin is is author of Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress, The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism, and of many other writings on topics such as "What is the Good of Transhumanism?"  He is a contributing editor of the journal New Atlantis and Associate Professor of Political Science at Duquesne University.

Dangerous Passions: The Politics of Modern Honour
with Haig Patapan

Friday, February 13, 2015
12:00 p.m. 
10 Stone Ave, Room 201 
Boston College 

RSVP required by February 10 to

Dangerous Passions Flyer »

Haig Patapan is author of Machiavelli in Love (2007) and Judging Democracy (2000), co-author of The Democratic Leader (2012), co-editor of Good Democratic Leadership (2014), as well as other volumes on leadership, especially in Asia. Patapan is Director of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy and Professor in the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University Australia. He is recipient of various awards and is presently a Senior Fulbright Fellow at Harvard. 


Fall 2013 Programs


Exchange and Self-falsification: J.J. Rousseau and Adam Smith in Dialogue
Charles L. Griswold, Boston University

Friday, November 8, 2013
4:00 p.m.
Higgins 300

Rousseau claims in the Discourses and elsewhere that we can no longer appear as who or what we are. On his account, this lamentable development is expressed in commercial exchange (though not only there). What does Rousseau mean by this remarkable claim? Is it defensible? By way of answering these questions about "self-falsification," as Griswold calls it, this talk considers a famous passage from Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations about exchange with the butcher, brewer, and baker. Conclusion: suitably interpreted, Rousseau's point is well worth consideration. Drawing on this "dialogue" between Rousseau and Smith, Griswold offers thoughts on what both being oneself and freedom might mean for each thinker.
Charles Griswold is Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy at Boston University, where he  is a popular teacher as well as a wide-ranging author. His most important recent books are Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration (2007), and Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment (1999). Griswold also co-edited the collection, Ancient Forgiveness: Classical, Judaic, and Christian (2012), and has written extensively on Plato. His first book was  Self-knowledge in Plato’s Phaedrus (1986), which was followed by the edited collection, Platonic Writings, Platonic Readings (1988). At present his inquiries turn to the complicated proposals of Rousseau.

Professor Griswold event flyer »


spring 2014 Programs


Strings Attached: Untangling the Ethic of Incentives
Ruth Grant, Duke University

Friday, March 28, 2014
4:00 p.m.
Higgins 300, Boston College
Strings Attached Flyer »

Ruth Grant is a Professor of Political Science at Duke University, specializing in political theory with a particular interest in early modern philosophy and political ethics. She is the author of John Locke's Liberalism and of Hypocrisy and Integrity: Machiavelli, Rousseau and the Ethics of Politics. She is also the editor of two collections of essays; Naming Evil, Judging Evil and In Search of Goodness. Her most recent book is Strings Attached: Untangling Ethics of Incentives. Her work originally focused on the historical study of liberal thought and has moved increasingly toward contemporary ethics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals including APSR, Political Theory, Journal of Politics, and Politics and Society. She has received fellowship awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, and the Russell Sage Foundation, and a teaching award from Duke University.


Fall 2012 Programs


Constitutionalist Political Science: Herbert Storing's Philosophical Moderation
Paul Carrese,
Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and 2012-13 Forbes Visiting Fellow, James Madison Program, Princeton University

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
10 Stone Ave, Room 201 | 12:00 p.m.
RSVP required to


The Origins of Political Order
Francis Fukuyama,
Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University

Monday, October 29       
Higgins 310 | 7:30 p.m.

spring 2013 Programs


The Fourth American Revolution
James Pierson,
Senior Fellow and Director of Manhattan Institute's Center for the American University

Monday, February 4
10 Stone Avenue, Room 201 | 12:00 p.m.
RSVP required by February 1 @

The United States has been shaped by three far-reaching political revolutions: Jefferson’s “revolution of 1800,” the Civil War, and the New Deal. Each of these upheavals concluded with lasting institutional and cultural adjustments that set the stage for new phases of political and economic development in America. The United States could not developed into the multi-racial and multi-ethnic superpower that we know today without the upheavals that facilitated expansion in the early 1800s, ended slavery in the 1860s, and laid the basis for the regulatory and entitlement state in the 1930s and 1940s. Are we on the verge of a new upheaval, a “fourth revolution” that will reshape U.S. politics for decades to come? There are signs to suggest that we are.


The Origins of Political Order
Francis Fukuyama,
Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University

Tuesday, February 12      
Fulton 511 | 7:30 p.m.
Watch the event | Flyer »

Colloquium on The Ethics of the Warrior
Friday, April 12, 2013
McGuinn 521 | 1:00 p.m.
Schedule »


Fall 2011 Programs


Giving an Account of the West: Political History and Political Philosophy
Pierre Manent, L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales
Tuesday, November 1
Gasson 100 | 4:30 p.m.

Some Reflections on the Current Western Predicament
Luncheon with Pierre Manent
Wednesday, November 2
10 Stone Ave, Room 201
Invitation Only

Reason and Revelation
Luncheon with Pierre Manent
Thursday, November 3   
McGuinn 334 Conference Room
Invitation Only

About the Presenter

Pierre Manent is director of studies at the L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris, France. He was a leading figure in the French rediscovery of political philosophy in the 1970's and 80's after the long hegemony of Marxist and postmodernist ("post-structuralist") currents of thought. In 1978, with Raymond Aron and others, he helped found the French quarterly Commentaire. Manent's earlier books (Naissances de la politique moderne, Tocqueville and the Nature of Democracy, An Intellectual History of Liberalism, the anthology Les Libéraux, and The City and Man) seek to understand the political and theological origins of modern liberalism, including its spiritual costs and benefits. His more recent work centers on the health and development of modern liberal democracies. Works such as A World beyond Politics? (2001) and La raison des nations (2006) analyze the "depoliticization" of contemporary Europe and make Manent a significant critic of the European project in its present form. In Les métamorphoses de la cité: Essai sur la dynamique de l'Occident (2010), Manent explores the West's four great "political forms": the city, Empire, Church, and nation, and its substitute for religion, the "religion of humanity."  Le regard politique (2010), a collection of conversations with Manent, has just appeared. Manent is currently completing a new book on Montaigne and a collection of essays on the "theological-political problem."

Spring 2012 Programs


Kennedy and Liberalism
James Piereson, William E. Simon Foundation
Monday, March 19        
10 Stone Ave, Room 201 | Noon
Invitation Only

Why Strauss Wrote on Xenophon
Christopher Nadon, Claremont McKenna College
Thursday, April 12
Gasson 205 | 4:30 P.M.