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09/21/17 Constitutional Politics in the US

Start Date: September 21, 2017
End Date: September 21, 2017


Michael Les Benedict Ohio University Zanesville invites the community to attend “Constitutional Politics in the US” on Thursday, September 21, 6-7 p.m. The free program, will be held in Elson Hall Auditorium on the Newark Road campus.


Who really decides constitutional issues in the United States?   Is it the Supreme Court, which is what most people think?  Respected constitutional historian, Michael Les Benedict, says “Constitutional issues are really decided by We, The People, not the courts.”  During his presentation Benedict will explain how constitutional politics has decided the great issues of American constitutional history right up to the present, calling on Americans to fulfill their great constitutional responsibility knowingly and intelligently. 


Constitution Day is celebrated each year on September 17. This program in celebration of Constitution Day Week is sponsored by the Muskingum County Bar Association, Muskingum County History, Muskingum Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Ohio University Zanesville Cultural Committee.


One of the nation’s most respected constitutional historians, Benedict’s career has spanned over forty years, having earned his Ph.D. in history from Rice University and attended the law school of the University of Illinois. He is the author of The Blessings of Liberty, now in its third edition, as well as an accompanying source book, Sources in American Constitutional History (2d ed., 2017).


Benedict is known for his books and essays on constitutional issues in the Civil War and Reconstruction era.  His The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1973) revolutionized historical understandings of that event.  It remains in print over forty years after it first appeared.  He followed that study with A Compromise of Principle (1974), which detailed the struggle between radical and centrist Republicans over Reconstruction policy.  His Preserving the Constitution (2005) compiled his most important essays on the constitutional politics of Reconstruction.  He also co-edited (with  John F. Winkler) The History of Ohio Law (2004).


In addition, Benedict has published more than 50 essays on American constitutional history, the Civil War/Reconstruction era, and on the law of copyright.  He has held many prestigious research and teaching fellowships, among them fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Fulbright Commission, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and others.


Serving more than 30 years as professor of history at The Ohio State University, he was also adjunct professor of law at OSU’s Moritz College of Law, he has been visiting professor at universities and law schools in the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom.  He is presently Visiting Scholar at both the Moritz College of Law and is regularly Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas School of Law.


Benedict is an elected member of the Society of American Historians, has served as president of the Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and as parliamentarian of the American Historical Association.


The “Constitutional Politics in the US” program is part of the Ohio University Zanesville Third Thursday Event Series. For more information visit