Talking about John Jay

This has definitely been a “John Jay in Public” week for me.

On Tuesday night, I had the privilege of talking about John Jay’s life, his view of religion in public life, and how that fit into a Federalist mind-set. The lecture took place at Cairn University, in Bucks County, suburban Philadelphia. Their president, Todd Williams, was a great host.

It was also a real thrill to talk about John Jay at an event co-sponsored by the John Jay Institute. I think the Institute is doing great work. They have even named me an affiliated scholar.

Then, on Wednesday, I presented a Work-In-Progress Seminar at Princeton. The event was held at Prospect House, the former residence of Princeton Presidents. The event took place in the library, so I was presenting where Woodrow Wilson may once have gone to read.


I presented a chapter on John Jay’s Constitutionalism, which examined Jay’s thought and action during the critical years of the 1780s. I would suggest both Jay’s thought and his actions mattered in helping to place the USA on its constitutional path.

The session went well, and my colleagues offered great input from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

The best comment, though, came from my colleague Adam Macleod, who concluded that I should make up wristbands that said “WWJJD?” for “What Would John Jay Do?” I can already see the marketing tie-ins!

I should also take the opportunity to mention I’m happy to talk about John Jay in public settings for just about anybody who will have me.


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3 responses to “Talking about John Jay

  1. Congrats! I pity the intern who had to spell your (long) name correctly with those little letters.

  2. Can’t wait for the John Jay biographical tome for those of us far from the Eastern seaboard. Also, I won’t hold the Woodrow Wilson connection against you.

  3. Ben,
    It will be a few years, but I’ll be working hard to push the Jay project along. And, it’s the Wilson connection that makes it all the more delicious: talking about Constitutionalism on the home ground of Mr. Organic Constitution.

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