The John Marshall Project (JMP) of the Department of Political Science at Boston College promotes a focused study of the citizenship and statesmanship needed by a democratic and constitutional republic. The mission of the Project absorbs and expands upon the Program for the Western Heritage, directed by Robert Faulkner and Susan Shell and housed within the Department of Political Science. The Marshall Project also cooperates directly with the Marshall Program in Political Philosophy and Civic Leadership, currently directed by Robert Faulkner under the auspices of the Clough Center.
The activities of the Project include lectures and other appearances on campus by notable public figures and other political and intellectual leaders, the awarding and supervision of two Marshall Doctoral Fellowships and one Marshall Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and selection of ten to twenty undergraduate Marshall Fellows, with the future possibility of a certificate program in civic leadership. The undergraduate fellows participate in reading groups, lectures, and summer study and research, as well as special conferences where pertinent.
The JMP operates with generous financial support from the Jack Miller Center and the Thomas W. Smith Foundation.
The project is named for John Marshall, the “great Chief Justice” (1803-35). Marshall was especially concerned with civic education of the young, devoting his last years to revising his Life of George Washington for use as a schoolbook. Inspired by Marshall's example, the mission of the John Marshall Project is to enhance both undergraduate and graduate instruction. By directly appealing to what Abraham Lincoln called “honorable ambition,” we mean to encourage among our most promising students a fuller appreciation of inspiring civic leaders and the special requirements and difficulties in leading and sustaining a complicated modern democracy. Similarly, as we help train the next generation of college and university professors in the history of political thought, we give special attention to such topics and also to the key arguments that did much to establish modern liberal democracy and that still aid in its defense against very real threats to its health and longevity.
The chief aims of the Project include:
- fostering the practice of, and appreciation for, the virtue of democratic statesmanship
- exploring the rich intellectual tradition of political thought in the West and applying the lessons of that tradition today
- providing a forum for promising students to practice the skill of frank, yet respectful political discourse
- connecting students with the brightest minds in politics today through lecture series and events
- preparing students for postgraduate education, whether in law, business, politics, or beyond
“What are the favorite maxims of democracy? A strict observance of justice and public faith and a steady adherence to virtue.”