Peter Berkowitz: Why US Colleges Don't Teach the Federalist Papers

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    May 07, 2012 10:52 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304743704577380383026226256.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Most astonishing and most revealing is the neglect of The Federalist by graduate schools and law schools. The political science departments at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley—which set the tone for higher education throughout the nation and train many of the next generation’s professors—do not require candidates for the Ph.D. to study The Federalist. And these universities’ law schools (Princeton has no law school), which produce many of the nation’s leading members of the bar and bench, do not require their students to read, let alone master, The Federalist’s major ideas and main lines of thought.

    Of course, The Federalist is not prohibited reading, so graduates of our leading universities might be reading it on their own. The bigger problem is that the progressive ideology that dominates our universities teaches that The Federalist, like all books written before the day before yesterday, is antiquated and irrelevant.

    Particularly in the aftermath of the New Deal, according to the progressive conceit, understanding America’s founding and the framing of the Constitution are as useful to dealing with contemporary challenges of government as understanding the horse-and-buggy is to dealing with contemporary challenges of transportation. Instead, meeting today’s needs requires recognizing that ours is a living constitution that grows and develops with society’s evolving norms and exigencies.
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    May 07, 2012 11:04 PM GMT
    Answer: Federalist Number 84.
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    May 07, 2012 11:15 PM GMT
    What, you expect those with an opposing agenda to teach the mind set of those who wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
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    May 07, 2012 11:20 PM GMT
    We studied the Federalist Papers during undergrad political theory.

    The venom in this piece (sadly the hallmark of Murdoch's WSJ) is a bit hysterical and not helping his case. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 07, 2012 11:38 PM GMT
    Factually untrue---the federalist papers are indeed on the curriculum (required reading in fact!) at Harvard, and dramatically misplaced. They're important but not difficult to overstate the importance of.

    Next up from berkowitz: scandalous liberal colleges don't teach the theory of phlogiston.
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    May 07, 2012 11:47 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidFactually untrue---the federalist papers are indeed on the curriculum (required reading in fact!) at Harvard, and dramatically misplaced. They're important but not difficult to overstate the importance of.

    Next up from berkowitz: scandalous liberal colleges don't teach the theory of phlogiston.


    Not precisely what he claims though I would be curious whether or not they do - from the article itself:

    At Harvard, at least, all undergraduate political-science majors will receive perfunctory exposure to a few Federalist essays in a mandatory course their sophomore year. But at Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley, political-science majors can receive their degrees without encountering the single surest analysis of the problems that the Constitution was intended to solve and the manner in which it was intended to operate.
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    May 07, 2012 11:58 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    TigerTim saidFactually untrue---the federalist papers are indeed on the curriculum (required reading in fact!) at Harvard, and dramatically misplaced. They're important but not difficult to overstate the importance of.

    Next up from berkowitz: scandalous liberal colleges don't teach the theory of phlogiston.


    Not precisely what he claims though I would be curious whether or not they do - from the article itself:

    At Harvard, at least, all undergraduate political-science majors will receive perfunctory exposure to a few Federalist essays in a mandatory course their sophomore year. But at Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley, political-science majors can receive their degrees without encountering the single surest analysis of the problems that the Constitution was intended to solve and the manner in which it was intended to operate.


    The article is blocked unless you have a subscription. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 08, 2012 12:02 AM GMT
    Christian73 said
    riddler78 said
    TigerTim saidFactually untrue---the federalist papers are indeed on the curriculum (required reading in fact!) at Harvard, and dramatically misplaced. They're important but not difficult to overstate the importance of.

    Next up from berkowitz: scandalous liberal colleges don't teach the theory of phlogiston.


    Not precisely what he claims though I would be curious whether or not they do - from the article itself:

    At Harvard, at least, all undergraduate political-science majors will receive perfunctory exposure to a few Federalist essays in a mandatory course their sophomore year. But at Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley, political-science majors can receive their degrees without encountering the single surest analysis of the problems that the Constitution was intended to solve and the manner in which it was intended to operate.


    The article is blocked unless you have a subscription. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Google it and follow the link---you can get access that way.

    According to my friends at Yale---he's wrong about that too.
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    May 08, 2012 1:23 AM GMT
    I'm reminded of the words of Diogenes the cynic:

    “You are a simpleton, Hegesias; you do not choose painted figs, but real ones; and yet you pass over the true training and would apply yourself to written rules”