McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles to Welcome Dr. James Stoner for Public Lecture


MACON – Mercer University's McDonald Center for America's Founding Principles will welcome Dr. James Stoner, professor of political science at Louisiana State University, for a public lecture on Nov. 6.

Dr. Stoner will deliver a lecture, titled “War Power, Executive Power, and the Rule of Law: Lessons from the Founders,” at 6:30 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium on the Macon campus.

“James Stoner is one of the nation's very best scholars at the intersection of American Constitutional law and the history of political thought. His scholarship combines a deep appreciation for the power of ideas with the lawyer's attention to detail, precedent and form,” said Dr. Will Jordan, co-director of the McDonald Center and associate professor of political science. ” Dr. Stoner's lecture, like many McDonald Center events, will show how a better understanding of our Constitutional foundation can help us to make sense of our most vexing contemporary dilemmas.”

Dr. Stoner has taught at LSU since 1988. He chaired the Department of Political Science from 2007-2013 and served as acting dean of the Honors College in fall 2010. His teaching and research interests include political theory, English common law and American constitutionalism. He has authored two books – Common-Law Liberty: Rethinking American Constitutionalism (Kansas, 2003) and Common Law and Liberal Theory: Coke, Hobbes, and the Origins of American Constitutionalism (Kansas, 1992) – as well as numerous articles and essays, and he has co-edited two books.

In 2009, he was named a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey. He was a member of the National Council on the Humanities from 2002-2006, and a visiting fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University in 2002-2003 and 2013-2014.

Dr. Stoner earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1987.

While at Mercer, he will also meet with the College of Liberal Arts' American Founding Principles course to discuss the Pacifius-Helvidius Debates of 1793-1794, a sometimes heated exchange between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison over President George Washington's Neutrality Proclamation. This debate explored the aims and limits of presidential foreign policy power under the Constitution, a subject as important today as it was in the 18th century.

Additionally, he will lead a McDonald Center faculty/student reading group that is meeting this semester to discuss Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, one of the most important sources used by the American founders.

About the Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America's Founding Principles

The Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America's Founding Principles exists to supplement Mercer University's excellent liberal arts program with a redoubled commitment to the foundational texts and ideas that have shaped Western Civilization and the American political order. This focus on the core texts of the Western tradition helps to revitalize a cross-centuries dialogue about citizenship, human rights, and political, economic and religious freedom, thereby deepening the moral imagination and fostering civic and cultural literacy.

The McDonald Center's programming includes the annual A.V. Elliott Conference on Great Books and Ideas, faculty-student reading groups, a general education course on America's Founding Principles, summer Great Books programs for high school teachers and students, and undergraduate research fellowships. All programming is designed to enhance Mercer's longstanding role as a distinctive home of liberal learning, a place where serious students come to live the life of the mind and emerge more thoughtful and engaged citizens.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​