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September 9, 2015

Celebrate Constitution Day with WGU.

Join us in celebrating the 228th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution! WGU will host a series of free 1-hour webinars and online discussions beginning Monday, September 14, through Constitution Day on Thursday, September 17, 2015 to commemorate the issues and importance of the U.S. Constitution. Topics and times are listed below.

Click here to join a webinar at the scheduled time and call toll free 1-888-585-9008 passcode 556-081-544# to participate.

Constitution with feather and partial flag

Monday, September 14 
11:00 am Pacific/ 12:00 pm Mountain/ 1:00 pm Central/ 2:00 pm Eastern 
Dr. Heidi Franco 
“Political Philosophy Americana: How Does the Wisdom of the Past Compare to Current Events?”

What would Madison, Jefferson, Washington, or Hamilton say about current events in government, politics, and the world? Did they comprehend or have answers to the problems we face today? Join Dr. Heidi Franco for an insightful view of America’s past political perspectives and how they apply to today’s hot topics.

Dr. Tim McCune 
“Toward the ‘Great Community’: Dewey’s Ameliorative Social and Political Philosophy”

Though thoroughly steeped in earlier thinkers, the most robust expression of social and political theory in the Classical American philosophical tradition comes from the work of “America’s Philosopher,” John Dewey. Join Tim McCune from General Education to discuss Dewey’s belief in the primacy of social-political philosophy and his understanding of it as the reflective criticism and evaluation of values. Dewey’s unique and imaginative reconstruction of key political concepts—such as democracy, liberalism, individualism, and freedom—illustrates his move away from “The Great Society” and toward “The Great Community.” He offers a pragmatic critique of Classical Liberalism that has radical implications for politics, including the function of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday, September 15 
1:00 pm Pacific/ 2:00 pm Mountain/ 3:00 pm Central/ 4:00 pm Eastern
Dr. Bryan Benson, Dr. Katherine Douglas, and Michael Dungar, M.A.; A.B.D.
“Presidential Elections in Historical Context”

The framers created a Republic—an indirect democracy in which citizens elect representatives to govern on their behalf. Metaphorically speaking, Presidential elections are the Super Bowl of U.S. politics: High public interest, and high stakes for the involved parties. Join Bryan Benson, Mike Dungar, and Katherine Douglas to examine three aspects of presidential elections: Presidential elections from the perspective of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention; the evolution of the presidential primary process; and a look at the current field of Republican and Democratic candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination.

Wednesday, September 16 
11:00 am Pacific/ 12:00 pm Mountain/ 1:00 pm Central/ 2:00 pm Eastern
Dr. Rob Whiting, Ph.D. and Lizzie Redkey, Ph.D.
“Aim at Them, Not Us: Balancing Force and Power in the U.S. Constitutional System”

How do you write a constitution that ensures both the security and the liberty of its people when the only difference between a military that can trounce its enemies and one that is a tool of tyrants is which direction its weapons are pointed? The people of the American colonies inherited from the British a fear and loathing of standing armies because those armies had a history of becoming the tools of tyrants against their own people. This discomfort undergirded much of the constitutional debate after the American Revolution, as they had to wrestle with the dilemma of how to create a system that allowed for a solid defense of the new nation, but one that could not oppress its people. Their attempts to solve this riddle shaped the entire constitutional process and ultimately resulted in a uniquely decentralized military with roughly equal odds of success or disaster for the young nation. Please join us for a discussion of the ideas that influenced the American concept of the “citizen soldier” and how the early United States tried to balance martial force and political power.

Thursday, September 17 
10:00 am HAST/ 12:00 pm Pacific/ 1:00 pm Mountain/ 2:00 pm Central/ 3:00 pm Eastern
Dr. Erinn P. Nicley, Ph.D. and Jason Verber, Ph.D.
“The U.S. Constitution as a Model and Hegemonic Influence in Europe and Latin America”

The U.S. Constitution is often viewed as a document that is “above politics”. However, in terms of foreign policy, the U.S. Constitution has long served as a model for newly independent countries and for countries emerging from non-democratic systems, the U.S. Constitution has often been championed as a model for political institutional reform. The long history of the U.S. political influence in Europe and Latin America has transformed the U.S. Constitution into a tool of U.S. hegemonic power. This brief panel talk will discuss the enduring influence of the U.S. Constitution in advancing our distinct structure of representative democratic government in the world.

Friday, September 18 
11:00 am Pacific/ 12:00 pm Mountain/ 1:00 pm Mountain/ 2:00 pm Eastern
Dr. Melvin Sanchez
“Foucault on Punishment and Its Application to the 8th Amendment”

In his book Discipline and Punish, French philosopher Michel Foucault outlines the way in which state power has inflicted punishment throughout Western European history. Foucault details the conceptual transformations that punishment has undergone. He makes interesting connections to the way in which power works and how it has been directed towards individuals. This presentation will apply some of Foucault’s ideas to the history of the 8th Amendment. Have we undergone a conceptual transformation of “cruel and unusual” here in the United States? If so…how? What does the death penalty (and punishment in general) tell us about state power here in the U.S.?

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