Learn the story of Jefferson’s debate with Madison about periodic constitutional renewal (Jefferson wanted each generation to write its own Constitution; Madison favored an enduring Constitution). That historical debate opens up different proposals for constitutional change today.  Learn about historic challenges and what is possible today that could make the American Constitution even more effective for We the People”.


Beau Breslin is the Joseph C. Palamountain Jr. Professor of Political Science at Skidmore College. Skidmore’s Dean of the Faculty from 2011 to 2018, Breslin has called the College in Saratoga Springs, NY his professional home for 25 years. He is the author of numerous articles on topics ranging from constitutional theory to the death penalty to restorative justice. He has also published three books: The Communitarian Constitution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), From Words to Worlds: Exploring Constitutional Functionality  (The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought, 2009), and his latest, A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation’s Fundamental Law (Stanford University Press, 2021).  He holds a BA in political science from Hobart College and a MA and Ph.D in constitutional thought from the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Henry L. Chambers, Jr., is Professor of Law and Austin E. Owen Research Scholar at the University of Richmond.  He teaches and writes in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, constitutional law, criminal law, and law and religion.  His upcoming essay, Douglass, Lincoln, and Douglas before Dred Scott: A Few Thoughts on Freedom, Equality, and Affirmative Action, considers how past visions of equality and inequality continue to arise in today’s affirmative action discussions.  Chambers served as Special Assistant Attorney General for redistricting matters for the Commonwealth of Virginia during the post-2010 Census redistricting cycle. Recent appointments include serving as the vice-chair of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, as a member of the Virginia Governor’s Commission to Examine Racial and Economic Inequity in the Law, and as an advisor to the Virginia Model Jury Instruction Committee. Chambers has lectured on constitutional law in various venues, including through the We The People program, which provides civic education instruction to school teachers and the public; at James Madison’s Montpelier; and at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville. He is the editor of the pocket pamphlet, American Legacy: The United States Constitution and Other Essential Documents of American Democracy, 2nd Edition (Center for Civic Education 2023).