• We The People Podcast

What Would Madison Think of the Presidency Today?

November 28, 2019

The National Constitution Center’s initiative, ‘A Madisonian Constitution for All,’ is launching an essay series where leading scholars explore what James Madison, the “father of the Constitution”, might think about the presidency, Congress, courts, and the media today. This week, two of the authors celebrate the launch of the series by diving into all things presidential – how the office was conceived of at the Founding, evolved throughout history, was impacted by the rise of political parties and partisanship, and increasingly expanded its power. They also give their takes on the current impeachment investigation. Scholars Sai Prakash and Sean Wilentz, authors of the ‘Madisonian Constitution for All’ essays on the presidency, join host Jeffrey Rosen.

This podcast is presented as part of the National Constitution Center’s A Madisonian Constitution for All initiative and made possible through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation.



Saikrishna Prakash is James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, Paul G. Mahoney Research Professor of Law, and Miller Center Senior Fellow at the University of Virginia. His forthcoming book, “The Living Presidency: An Originalist Argument Against Its Ever-Expanding Powers,” will be published in 2020. He is also the author of “Imperial from the Beginning: The Constitution of the Original Executive.”

Sean Wilentz is George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. He is the author of No Property in Man: Slavery and Anti-Slavery at the Nation’s Founding and The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln which was awarded the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He’s also the author of The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. A contributing editor to The New Republic, Professor Wilentz is also a member of the editorial boards of Dissent and Democracy.

​​​​​​Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

Additional Resources

This episode was engineered by Greg Scheckler with editing by Dave Stotz, and Jackie McDermott and produced by Jackie McDermott. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich, Robert Black, Frank Cone, and Jackie McDermott.

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