Department of Political Science associate professor Dr. James Zink and co-author Dr. Michelle Schwarze (UW-Madison) recently published their article, “James Wilson’s Science of Politics and the Moral Psychology of American Constitutionalism” in the fall issues of American Political Thought: A Journal of Ideas, Institutions, and Culture.
Dr. Zink and Dr. Schwarze use James Wilson’s institutional science of politics as a lens for viewing his broader understanding of American constitutionalism. Wilson accepted the “Madisonian” view that government institutions should be designed to check humans’ vicious tendencies, both among the people and within government. But he also thought they could be carefully crafted to simultaneously encourage humans’ other-regarding passions and innate moral propensities, thereby establishing popular politics on the most stable of foundations: a benevolent people. Wilson’s emphasis on the role of government institutions in promoting moral and prosocial behavior reflects his distinctive understanding of American constitutionalism and draws attention to an underappreciated aspect of the American constitutional tradition.
You can read the full article here.